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Weizsäcker, Richard von

Richard Karl Freiherr von Weizsäcker

b. 15 Apr 1920, Stuttgart, German Reich

Title: Bundespräsident (Federal President)
Term: 1 Jul 1984 - 30 Jun 1989
Chronology: 23 May 1984, elected, session of the Bundesversammlung (Federal Assembly), Beethovenhalle, Bonn [1]
  1 Jul 1984, took an oath of office as Federal President, joint session of the Bundestag and Bundesrat, Bonn [2]
Term: 1 Jul 1989 - 30 Jun 1994
Chronology: 23 May 1989, elected, session of the Bundesversammlung (Federal Assembly), Beethovenhalle, Bonn [3]
  30 Jun 1994, expiration of term
Other offices: Regierender Bürgermeister [Governing Mayor (of Berlin)] (11 Jun 1981 - 9 Feb 1984) (see details)
Biography:
Born in the family of diplomat Ernst Freiherr von Weizsäcker; studied philosophy and history in Oxford and Grenoble; joined the army (1938) and participated in World War II fighting in the battles against Poland and Soviet Union; continued his studies in Göttingen (1945-1950) and as lawyer defended his father prosecuted as Nazi state official; made a career in the 1950s mostly connected with the Mannesmann AG mining company; was also an active participant in the Evangelist church affairs serving on many ecclesiastic councils; joined the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in 1954; remained politically inactive until 1965, when Helmut Kohl proposed his candidacy for the parliamentary elections, but he refused to participate; became a member of the CDU federal board (1966) and was finally elected to the Bundestag in 1969; was considered as a possible candidate to the federal presidency (1968), but the choice fell on Gerhard Schröder, who eventually lost to Gustav Heinemann; while the CDU was in opposition (1969-1982), he actively worked on the party's new program and was a candidate to the post of CDU/CSU leader in the Bundestag, but Karl Carstens assumed the office in May 1973; lost 32 votes to Walter Scheel at the presidential elections (1974); served as Vice President of the Bundestag (21 Jun 1979 - 21 Mar 1981); resigned the office to become the Governing Mayor of West Berlin (11 Jun 1981 - 9 Feb 1984); was elected Federal President (23 May 1984) easily defeating the independent candidate Luise Rinser, supported by the Greens and the Free Democrats; running unopposed for the first time in the history of presidential elections in Germany, he was reelected in 1989; his second term witnessed the process of the unification of Germany; in 1994 the seat of the German presidency was transferred to the Schloß Bellevue in Berlin.
Biographical sources: "Die Bundespräsidenten: Biographien eines Amtes", by Günther Scholz (Heidelberg: Decker & Müller, 1990).
Elections:

Candidate (party) Vote (23 May 1984)
Richard von Weizsäcker (CDU/CSU) 832
Luise Rinser (independent, Green Party nomination) 68
abstentions 117
invalid 11
total votes cast 1,028
total votes/absolute majority: 1,040/521

Candidate (party) Vote (23 May 1989)
Richard von Weizsäcker (CDU) 881
with "no" 108
abstentions 30
invalid 3
total votes cast 1,022
total votes/absolute majority: 1,038/520
Source of electoral results: Verhandlungen des Deutschen Bundestages, 10. Wahlperiode, Bd. 128, Sonderdruck; Verhandlungen des Deutschen Bundestages, 11. Wahlperiode, Bd. 149, Sonderdruck.

[1] Verhandlungen des Deutschen Bundestages, 10. Wahlperiode, Bd. 128, Sonderdruck.
[2] Verhandlungen des Deutschen Bundestages, 10. Wahlperiode, Bd. 128, S. 5791-5808.
[3] Verhandlungen des Deutschen Bundestages, 11. Wahlperiode, Bd. 149, Sonderdruck.

This page was last updated on: 26 Jun 2009 03:36:07

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