Winfried Kretschmann

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Winfried Kretschmann
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Kretschmann in 2018
Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg
Assumed office
12 May 2011
Preceded by Stefan Mappus
President of the Bundesrat
In office
1 November 2012 31 October 2013
Preceded by Horst Seehofer
Succeeded by Stephan Weil
Personal details
Born (1948-05-17) 17 May 1948 (age 71)
Spaichingen, Württemberg-Hohenzollern, Allied-occupied Germany
Nationality German
Political party Alliance '90/Greens
Spouse(s)Gerlinde Kretschmann (since 1975)
Alma mater University of Hohenheim

Winfried Kretschmann (born 17 May 1948) is a German politician serving as Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg since 2011. A member of the Alliance '90/Greens, he was President of the Bundesrat and ex officio deputy to the President of Germany from 2012 to 2013. He is the first member of the Greens to serve in these offices. Identifying himself as a green conservative, Kretschmann has been associated with both socially and economically liberal policies.

President of Germany Head of state of the Federal Republic of Germany

The President of Germany, officially the Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany, is the head of state of Germany.

Social liberalism, also known as left liberalism in Germany, modern liberalism in the United States and new liberalism in the United Kingdom, is a political ideology and a variety of liberalism that endorses a regulated market economy and the expansion of civil and political rights.

Economic liberalism political ideology

Economic liberalism is an economic system organized on individual lines, meaning that the greatest possible number of economic decisions are made by individuals or households rather than by collective institutions or organizations. It includes a spectrum of different economic policies such as freedom of movement, but its basis is on strong support for a market economy and private property in the means of production. Although economic liberals can also be supportive of government regulation to a certain degree, they tend to oppose government intervention in the free market when it inhibits free trade and open competition.


Kretschmann has been a member of the state parliament, the Landtag of Baden-Württemberg, since 1980, in the constituency of Nürtingen. In 2006 he was the frontrunner in the Baden-Württemberg state election for his party, as he was in the state election on 27 March 2011. He was also the chairman of his party's parliamentary group. [1]

Landtag of Baden-Württemberg

The Landtag of Baden-Württemberg is the state diet of the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg. It convenes in Stuttgart and currently consists of 143 members of five political parties. The majority before the 2016 election was a coalition of the Alliance '90/The Greens and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), supporting the cabinet of Green Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann. The current majority coalition is of the Alliance '90/The Greens and the CDU.

Nürtingen Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Nürtingen is a town in the district of Esslingen in Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. It is located on the river Neckar.

2006 Baden-Württemberg state election

The Baden-Württemberg state election, 2006, was conducted on 26 March 2006, to elect members to the Landtag of Baden-Württemberg.

Following the state election of 2011, [2] Kretschmann was elected on 12 May 2011 by the combined Green-SPD majority in the Landtag to succeed Stefan Mappus as Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, becoming the first ever Green Minister-President of any German state. Kretschmann has wide personal popularity; if it were possible to elect the Minister-President directly during the Baden-Württemberg election of March 2016, Kretschmann would have won an outright majority according to polls; he was even favored by 45% of CDU supporters. [3] Kretschmann was re-elected in May 2016 as Minister-President while leading a new coalition with the Christian Democrats. [4]

Social Democratic Party of Germany Social-democratic political party in Germany

The Social Democratic Party of Germany, is a social-democratic political party in Germany.

Stefan Mappus German politician, former PM of Baden-Württemberg

Stefan Mappus is a former German politician from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He was the 8th Minister President of the state of Baden-Württemberg 2010–2011 and chairman of the CDU Baden-Württemberg 2009–2011.

2016 Baden-Württemberg state election 2016 state election in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

The Baden-Württemberg state election 2016 was held on 13 March 2016 to elect members to Baden-Württemberg's State diet, the Landtag of Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart. It was the 15th state election since the foundation of Baden-Württemberg in 1952. Going into the election, Winfried Kretschmann of Alliance '90/The Greens led a coalition government of his party with the Social Democrats. After the election, Kretschman was confirmed in May 2016 leading a coalition with the CDU, the first time the Greens have led such a coalition in Germany.

On 12 October 2012 he was elected President of the German Bundesrat for the term from 1 November 2012 to 31 October 2013. [5] This was the first time since 1953, and only the second time ever, that the President was not drawn from the ranks of either the CDU/CSU or the SPD.

President of the German Bundesrat speaker

In Germany, the President of the Bundesrat or President of the Federal Council is the chairperson or speaker of the Bundesrat. He or she is elected by the Bundesrat for a term of one year. Traditionally, the Presidency of the Bundesrat rotates among the leaders of the sixteen state governments. This is however only an established praxis, theoretically the Bundesrat is free to elect any member it chooses, and a President could also be re-elected. As well as acting as a chairperson the President of the Bundesrat is ex officio deputy of the President of Germany.

Early life and education

Kretschmann was born at Spaichingen in Baden-Württemberg. His parents were expellees from the mostly Roman Catholic region of Ermland (East Prussia) after World War II. [6] He grew up on the rural Swabian Alb (southern Baden-Württemberg). Kretschmann attended a Catholic boarding school in Sigmaringen and passed his Abitur in Riedlingen. Following his military service, he studied to be a teacher of biology and chemistry (later ethics) at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, graduating in 1977.

Spaichingen Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Spaichingen is a town in the district of Tuttlingen in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated 11 kilometers northwest of Tuttlingen, and 13 km southeast of Rottweil. It is 660 meters above sea level.

East Prussia province of Prussia

East Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1773 to 1829 and again from 1878 ; following World War I it formed part of the Weimar Republic's Free State of Prussia, until 1945. Its capital city was Königsberg. East Prussia was the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Political career

Early beginnings

From 1973 to 1975 Kretschmann was active in the Communist League of West Germany. [7] He later denounced this orientation towards the revolutionary positions of the German student movement as a "political misapprehension"; today he is more ecologically oriented and counted among the members of the more conservative wing of the Greens.

Communist League of West Germany communist party

The Communist League of West Germany was a Maoist organization in West Germany which existed from 1973 until 1985. The KBW contested the general elections in 1976 and 1980 in West Germany and was rated as the strongest of the German Maoist parties from 1974 until 1981. After 1982 the KBW was virtually inactive and was finally dissolved completely in 1985.

German student movement

The German student movement was a protest movement that took place during the late 1960s in West Germany. It was largely a reaction against the perceived authoritarianism and hypocrisy of the West German government and other Western governments, and the poor living conditions of students. A wave of protests—some violent—swept West Germany, fueled by violent over-reaction by the police and encouraged by contemporary protest movements across the world. Following more than a century of conservatism among German students, the German student movement also marked a significant major shift to the left and radicalization of student activism.

After three years as a school teacher at Sigmaringen, Kretschmann went into politics. He is one of the founding members of the Baden-Württemberg section of the German Green Party (at Sindelfingen on 30 September 1979).

In 1980, Kretschmann was for the first time elected into the Landtag, the state parliament, and a first stint of his chairmanship of his party's parliamentary group followed from 1983 to 1985. In 1985 he left Stuttgart to work in Hessen at the ministry of environment, then run by party colleague Joschka Fischer for two years.

In 1988, Kretschmann returned to Baden-Württemberg, being re-elected into the Landtag in 1988. He lost his seat in 1992, but returned – after four years back as a teacher – in 1996 and held his seat in 2001 and 2006. In 2002, he was again elected chairman of his party's parliamentary group. [8]

Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, 2011-present

In the 2011 state elections, amid a surge in support for the anti-nuclear Greens following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, [9] a coalition government of Greens and Social Democrats won over the former predominating conservative CDU Party; Kretschmann was elected as the new state Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg. [10] He ran on a platform that called for shutting down nuclear power plants, overhauling a public school system the Greens see as elitist, and imposing speed limits on Autobahns. [11] Also, Kretschmann is widely regarded as having benefited from his party's opposition to Stuttgart 21, a massive development project in Baden-Württemberg's capital. [12] Kretschmann’s election ended 58 years of uninterrupted rule in Baden-Württemberg by the Christian Democratic Union party. [9]

As Minister-President, Kretschmann is a member of the German-French Friendship Group set up by the German Bundesrat and the French Senate as well as of the German-Russian Friendship Group set up in cooperation with the Russian Federation Council.

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel held preliminary talks to sound out possible common ground with both the Green Party in an attempt to form a coalition government following the 2013 elections, Kretschmann was part of the Greens’ delegation. [13]

In the 2016 state elections, Kretschmann led the Green Party to a historic 30%, thus coming three points ahead of the Christian Democrats. [14] For the first time in any German regional election, the Greens emerged the strongest single party in the state. [15] Kretschmann was confirmed as leader of a coalition government of Greens and Christian Democrats in May 2016. [4] As the Green Party's only Minister-President, Kretschmann plays a crucial role to organize the party's informal coordination committee for the Bundesrat. [16]

Political positions

Kretschmann belongs to the more Realpolitik -oriented, centrist wing of the Green Party, and has been characterised as holding economically liberal, pro-business views. [17] He identifies as a green conservative. [18] His business-friendly approach to policy has caused him to clash with his party on more than one occasion. While he shared his party’s official position of favoring an alliance with the SPD after the 2013 federal elections, he repeatedly criticized its campaign. [9] He objected to the Greens’ election platform of tax increases, warning the leadership in a public letter to avoid any move that would be detrimental to business. [19]

When Bavaria filed a lawsuit in the Federal Constitutional Court in 2012, asking the judges to back their call for an overhaul of the German system of financial transfers from wealthier states (such as Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg) to the country's weaker economies, Kretschmann decided that his state would not back the lawsuit and instead urged reform via negotiations between all the states. [20]

Kretschmann has in the past been vocal about climate change policies. In May 2015, he joined Governor Jerry Brown of California and other international leaders from various states and provinces in signing the Under2 MOU, a non-binding climate change agreement in Sacramento, California. At the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Kretschmann and Brown convened in Paris during the talks to attract more supporters among governors, mayors and other leaders of “subnational” governments for stronger commitments to reducing emissions. [21]

Kretschmann stated that he wants to keep refugees who commit crimes in groups away from major cities and distribute them in the country, saying that the idea of sending some of them "into the pampas" was "not wrong", and adding, "To put it bluntly, the most dangerous thing that human evolution has produced is hordes of young men." He claimed that the 2018 Freiburg gang rape was a "terrible example" of this. [22]

Other activities

Personal life

Kretschmann is a Catholic. He is married with Gerlinde, has three children and lives in Sigmaringen.


See also

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  1. "Winfried Kretschmann, Fraktionschef der Grünen im baden-württembergischen Landtag". Südwestrundfunk . 20 November 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  2. "Germany: Greens celebrate Merkel election defeat". BBC News . 28 March 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  3. "Landtagswahlen: Grüne liegen in Baden-Württemberg vor CDU". 3 March 2016 via Die Zeit.
  4. 1 2 (, Deutsche Welle. "Baden-Württemberg debuts Green-led coalition with Merkel's conservative party - News - DW - 02.05.2016". DW.COM.
  5. "Winfried Kretschmann neuer Bundesratspräsident". Bundesrat of Germany. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  6. "Landtagswahl Baden-Württemberg: Erst war er im katholischen Internat, dann im Kommunistischen Bund". 24 March 2011 via Die Zeit.
  7. Biography at
  8. "Winfried Kretschmann personal website".
  9. 1 2 3 Stefan Nicola (August 23, 2013), Porsche Home’s Green Car Reversal Opens Road to Merkel Bloomberg News .
  10. "First Green State Governor 'I Want a Quiet Revolution'". SPIEGEL ONLINE. May 19, 2011. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  11. Jack Ewing (April 1, 2011), Germany's Greens Prepare for Power, and Major Tests International Herald Tribune .
  12. Flying High: Germany's Green Party Eyes Two State Premierships Spiegel Online , October 21, 2010.
  13. Florian Gathmann (October 1, 2013), Coalition Talks: Merkel to Meet Greens Next Week Spiegel Online .
  14. Philip Oltermann (March 14, 2016), German elections: the candidates who backed Merkel's refugee stance – and won The Guardian .
  15. Greens to form coalition with Merkel's conservatives in southern German state Deutsche Welle , May 1, 2016.
  16. Jungjohann, Arne (2017). German Greens in Coalition Governments. A Political Analysis (PDF). Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union and Green European Foundation. pp. 42–55.
  17. Solletty, Marion (4 June 2017). "Europe's Greens search for life after death". Politico. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  18. Stucke, Julius (2 October 2018). "Konservative streben nach notwendigen Reformen". Deutschlandfunk Kultur. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  19. Brian Parkin (April 29, 2013), Merkel’s Party Shuns 'Stone Age' Greens Amid Tax-Rise Pledge Bloomberg News .
  20. Christian Kraemer (July 17, 2012), Bavaria seeks to trump Merkel with anti-bailout card Reuters .
  21. Sewell Chan and Melissa Eddy (December 13, 2015), Leaders Move to Convert Paris Climate Pledges Into Action New York Times .
  22. Kretschmann will Straftäter von Städten fernhalten, "'Salopp gesagt ist das Gefährlichste, was die menschliche Evolution hervorgebracht hat, junge Männerhorden. Solche testosterongesteuerten Gruppen können immer Böses anrichten', so Kretschmann. Die Vergewaltigung in Freiburg sei ein schlimmes Beispiel, sagte Kretschmann mit Blick auf die Gruppenvergewaltigung einer 18-Jährigen.
  23. [Board of Trustees] Academy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart.
  24. Deutschlandradio Kultur vom 11. Mai 2011: Oberschwabe mit ostpreußischem Migrationshintergrund, Buchrezension von Pieke Biermann

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