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Kohl, Helmut Josef Michael

Helmut Josef Michael Kohl

b. 3 Apr 1930, Ludwigshafen am Rhein, German Reich

Title: Bundeskanzler (Federal Chancellor)
Term: 1 Oct 1982 - 29 Mar 1983
Chronology: 1 Oct 1982, elected federal chancellor at the 118th session of the 9th Bundestag [1]
  1 Oct 1982, appointed by the Bundespräsident (Federal President)
  1 Oct 1982, sworn in at the 119th session of the 9th Bundestag
Term: 29 Mar 1983 - 11 Mar 1987
Chronology: 29 Mar 1983, elected federal chancellor at the 2nd session of the 10th Bundestag [1]
  29 Mar 1983, appointed by the Bundespräsident (Federal President)
  29 Mar 1983, sworn in at the 2nd session of the 10th Bundestag
Term: 11 Mar 1987 - 17 Jan 1991
Chronology: 11 Mar 1987, elected federal chancellor at the 2nd session of the 11th Bundestag [1]
  11 Mar 1987, appointed by the Bundespräsident (Federal President)
  11 Mar 1987, sworn in at the 2nd session of the 11th Bundestag
Term: 4. 17 Jan 1991 - 15 Nov 1994
Chronology: 17 Jan 1991, elected federal chancellor at the 3rd session of the 12th Bundestag [1]
  17 Jan 1991, appointed by the Bundespräsident (Federal President)
  17 Jan 1991, sworn in at the 3rd session of the 12th Bundestag
Term: 15 Nov 1994 - 27 Oct 1998
Chronology: 15 Nov 1994, elected federal chancellor at the 2nd session of the 13th Bundestag [1]
  15 Nov 1994, appointed by the Bundespräsident (Federal President)
  15 Nov 1994, sworn in at the 3rd session of the 13th Bundestag
  27 Oct 1998, discharged by the Federal President
Biography:

The son of a local Christian Democratic leader in Ludgwigshafen, Rhineland-Palatinate, 16-year-old Helmut Kohl joined the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in 1946. In 1950-1958 Kohl studied law, political science, and history at the universities of Frankfurt and Heidelberg. He was the youngest person ever to become a member of the Rhineland-Palatinate Landtag (1959-1969), of which he became deputy chairman in 1961. From 1963 he was also the chairman of the CDU caucus in the Landtag. Kohl earned promotion to the position of chairman of the CDU in Rhineland-Palatinate (1966-1973) and was included in the CDU federal board in 1966. In 1969-1973, Kohl occupied the office of vice chairman of the CDU serving as a deputy first to Kurt Georg Kiesinger and then to Rainer Barzel. In Rhineland-Palatinate, Kohl was elected minister-president (19 May 1969 - 2 Dec 1976) and developed a reputation as a capable administrator. After Kohl was elected federal chairman of the CDU on 12 Jun 1973, he entered the 1976 federal elections as the chancellor candidate of the CDU, but lost to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) led by Helmut Schmidt. In 1982 the Free Democratic Party (FDP) withdrew from the SPD governing coalition and formed another coalition with the CDU/CSU. It set the stage for Kohl to win the chancellorship on a constructive vote of no confidence to Schmidt's government on 1 Oct 1982. As the new coalition still lacked a reliable majority in the Bundestag, the government initiated the vote of confidence to dissolve the parliament and to hold new parliamentary elections. On 17 Dec 1982 a vote of confidence to Kohl's government in the Bundestag failed [2], and on 7 Jan 1983 the Federal President Karl Carstens dissolved the lower chamber of the German parliament. The CDU/CSU-FDP coalition won a majority (278 seats at 250-seat absolute majority) in federal elections held on 6 Mar 1983 and Kohl formed his second government after he was reelected chancellor on 29 Mar 1983. Kohl's Cabinet went on to follow centrist policies that included modest cuts in government spending and strong support for West German commitments to NATO. These policies were confirmed by victory in the federal elections of 25 Jan 1987, although the CDU/CSU-FDP coalition held a reduced majority (269 seats at 249-seat absolute majority). The Bundestag reelected Kohl as chancellor on 11 Mar 1987 by a narrow margin of four votes. His popularity then waned but improved as he worked toward reunification of West with East Germany. In May 1990 Kohl's government concluded a treaty with East Germany that unified the two countries' economic and social-welfare systems. A unification treaty was ratified by the Bundestag and the People's Chamber in September and went into effect on 3 Oct 1990. Two days before the unification (1 Oct 1990), the conference that merged the East German and West German CDUs elected Kohl the party chairman. On 2 Dec 1990 the CDU/CSU-FDP coalition won a majority in the first free, all-German parliamentary elections since the end of the Weimar Republic (398 seats at 332-seat absolute majority). On 17 Jan 1991 Kohl was elected chancellor for the fourth time. Absorption of the eastern German economy proved more expensive and difficult than predicted, and Kohl's government had to commit itself to tax increases and cuts in government spending in order to finance unification. Voter discontent over these harsh realities and severe recession in 1992-1993, influenced the parliamentary elections of 16 Oct 1994. The coalition lost 57 seats and received only 341 seats in the 13th Bundestag at absolute majority of 337. Kohl won his fifth reelection on 15 Nov 1994 and formed his last government, but continuing high unemployment in Germany and voter weariness with Kohl after 16 years in office enabled the Social Democrats to decisively defeat the CDU-CSU in parliamentary elections held on 27 Sep 1998. Biography source: [3]

Elections:

Dates 1 Oct 1982 29 Mar 1983 11 Mar 1987 17 Jan 1991 15 Nov 1994
Votes cast 495 (+21) [4] 486 (+21) 487 (+21) 644 671
Bundestag members/
absolute majority
497/249 498/250 497/249 662/332 672/337
Yes 256 (+11) 271 (+11) 253 (+13) 378 338
No 235 (+10) 214 (+10) 225 (+8) 257 333
Abstentions 4 1 6 9 0
Invalid 0 0 3 0 0

[1] "Datenhandbuch zur Geschichte des Deutschen Bundestages" (Bonn, 1983, 1994).
[2] Vote of confidence on 17 Dec 1982: 8 in favor, 218 against, 248 abstention, 25 absentees (total members of the Bundestag - 497).
[3] "Die deutschen Kanzler von Bismarck bis Kohl", ed. by Wilhelm von Sternburg (Berlin: Aufbau-Taschenbuch-Verl., 1998).
[4] Votes of the representatives of Berlin are shown in parentheses.
  Image: photography by David Burnett.

This page was last updated on: 26 Jun 2009 03:36:28

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