Christian Social Union in Bavaria
The Christian Social Union in Bavaria is a Christian-democratic and conservative political party in Germany. The CSU operates only in Bavaria while its larger counterpart, the Christian Democratic Union, operates in the other fifteen states of Germany, it differs from the CDU by being somewhat more conservative in social matters. The CSU is considered an effective successor of the Weimar-era Catholic Bavarian People's Party. At the federal level, the CSU forms a common faction in the Bundestag with the CDU, referred to as the Union Faction; the CSU has had 46 seats in the Bundestag since the 2017 federal election, making it the smallest of the seven parties represented. The CSU is a member of the International Democrat Union; the CSU has three ministers in the cabinet of Germany of the federal government in Berlin, including party leader Horst Seehofer, Federal Minister of the Interior while party member Markus Söder serves as Minister-President of Bavaria, a position that CSU representatives have held from 1946 to 1954 and again since 1957.
Franz Josef Strauß had left behind the strongest legacy as a leader of the party, having led the party from 1961 until his death in 1988. His political career in the federal cabinet was unique in that he had served four ministerial posts in the years between 1953 and 1969. From 1978 until his death in 1988, Strauß served as the Minister-President of Bavaria. Strauß was the first leader of the CSU to be a candidate for the German chancellery in 1980. In the 1980 federal election, Strauß ran against the incumbent Helmut Schmidt of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, but lost thereafter as the SPD and the Free Democratic Party managed to secure an absolute majority together, forming a social-liberal coalition; the CSU has led the Bavarian state government since it came into existence in 1946, save from 1954 to 1957 when the SPD formed a state government in coalition with the Bavaria Party and the state branches of the GB/BHE and FDP. Before the 2008 elections in Bavaria, the CSU perennially achieved absolute majorities at the state level by itself.
This level of dominance is unique among Germany's 16 states. Edmund Stoiber took over the CSU leadership in 1999, he ran for Chancellor of Germany in 2002, but his preferred CDU/CSU–FDP coalition lost against the SPD candidate Gerhard Schröder's SPD–Green alliance. In the 2003 Bavarian state election, the CSU won 60.7% of the vote and 124 of 180 seats in the state parliament. This was the first time; the Economist suggested that this exceptional result was due to a backlash against Schröder's government in Berlin. The CSU's popularity declined in subsequent years. Stoiber stepped down from the posts of Minister-President and CSU chairman in September 2007. A year the CSU lost its majority in the 2008 Bavarian state election, with its vote share dropping from 60.7% to 43.4%. The CSU remained in power by forming a coalition with the FDP. In the 2009 general election, the CSU received only 42.5% of the vote in Bavaria in the 2009 election, which constitutes its weakest showing in the party's history.
The CSU made gains in the 2013 Bavarian state election and the 2013 federal election, which were held a week apart in September 2013. The CSU remained in government in Berlin, they have three ministers in Angela Merkel's current cabinet, namely Horst Seehofer, Andreas Scheuer and Gerd Müller. The CSU forms after Bavarian state election, 2018 on October 14, 2018 a new government with partner Free Voters of Bavaria; the CSU is the sister party of the Christian Democratic Union. Together, they are called The Union; the CSU operates only within Bavaria and the CDU operates in all other states, but not Bavaria. While independent, at the federal level the parties form a common CDU/CSU faction. No Chancellor has come from the CSU, although Strauß and Edmund Stoiber were CDU/CSU candidates for Chancellor in the 1980 federal election and the 2002 federal election which were both won by the Social Democratic Party of Germany. Below the federal level, the parties are independent. Since its formation, the CSU has been more conservative than the CDU.
The CSU and the state of Bavaria decided not to sign the Grundgesetz of the Federal Republic of Germany as they could not agree with the division of Germany into two states after World War II. Although Bavaria like all German states has a separate police and justice system, the CSU has participated in all political affairs of the German Parliament, the German government, the German Bundesrat, the parliamentary elections of the German President, the European Parliament and meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev in Russia; the CSU has contributed eleven of the twelve Ministers-President of Bavaria since 1945, with only Wilhelm Hoegner of the SPD holding the office. List of Christian Social Union of Bavaria politicians Politics of Germany Alf Mintzel. Die CSU. Anatomie einer konservativen Partei 1945-1972. Opladen. Christlich-Soziale Union – official site Christian-Social Union Christian-Social Union of Bavaria
Olaf Scholz is a German politician serving as Federal Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor under Chancellor Angela Merkel from the CDU since 14 March 2018. He served as First Mayor of Hamburg from 7 March 2011 to 13 March 2018 and Acting Leader of the Social Democratic Party from 13 February to 22 April 2018. A member of the Bundestag from 1998 to 2001 and again from 2002 to 2011, Scholz was Minister of the Interior of Hamburg under First Mayor Ortwin Runde from May to October 2001 and General Secretary of his party under Chairman and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder from 2002 to 2004, he served as Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs in Merkel's first Grand Coalition from 2007 to 2009 and Leader of the SPD in Hamburg from 2000 to 2004 and again from 2009 to 2018. Born in the northwestern city of Osnabrück, Scholz grew up in Hamburg’s Rahlstedt district and studied at the University of Hamburg to become a lawyer specializing in labour law. A former Vice President of the International Union of Socialist Youth, Scholz represented Hamburg Altona in the Bundestag between 1998 and 2001 as well as between 2002 and 2011.
From May to October 2001, he was Minister of the Interior of Hamburg under First Mayor Ortwin Runde and from 2002 to 2004 he was Secretary-General of the SPD. Scholz served as the SPD parliamentary group’s spokesperson on the inquiry committee investigating the German Visa Affair in 2005. Following the federal elections that year, he served as First Parliamentary Secretary of the SPD parliamentary group. In this capacity, he worked with the CDU parliamentary floor manager Norbert Röttgen to manage and defend the grand coalition led by Chancellor Angela Merkel in parliament, he served as member of the Parliamentary Oversight Panel, which provides parliamentary oversight of Germany’s intelligence services BND, MAD and BfV. In addition, he was a member of the parliamentary body in charge of appointing judges to the Highest Courts of Justice, namely the Federal Court of Justice, the Federal Administrative Court, the Federal Fiscal Court, the Federal Labour Court, the Federal Social Court. Scholz succeeded Franz Müntefering as Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs in the first cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel, when Müntefering left office in November 2007.
Following the 2009 elections, Scholz served as deputy chairman of the SPD parliamentary group. Between 2009 and 2011, he served on the group’s Afghanistan/Pakistan Task Force. In 2010 he participated in the annual Bilderberg Meeting in Sitges, Spain. On 20 February 2011 the Social Democrats led by Scholz won the 2011 Hamburg state election with 48.3% of the votes, resulting in 62 out of 121 seats in the Hamburg Parliament. Scholz resigned as a member of the seventeenth Bundestag on 11 March 2011 shortly after his election as First Mayor. In his capacity as Mayor, Scholz represented Germany internationally. On 7 June 2011, Scholz attended the state dinner hosted by President Barack Obama in honor of Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House; as host of Hamburg’s annual St. Matthias' Day banquet for the city’s civic and business leaders, he has invited several high-ranking guests of honour to the city, including Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault of France, Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada.
From 2015 until 2018, he served as Commissioner of the Federal Republic of Germany for Cultural Affairs under the Treaty on Franco-German Cooperation. In 2013, Scholz opposed a public initiative aiming at a complete buyback of energy grids Hamburg had sold to utilities Vattenfall Europe AG and E. ON decades before. Scholz participated in the exploratory talks between the CDU, CSU and SPD parties to form a coalition government following the 2013 federal elections. In the subsequent negotiations, he led the SPD delegation in the financial policy working group. Alongside fellow Social Democrats Jörg Asmussen and Thomas Oppermann, Scholz was considered a possible successor to Schäuble in the post of finance minister at the time. In a paper compiled in late 2014, Scholz and Schäuble proposed redirecting revenue from the so-called solidarity surcharge on income and corporate tax to subsidize the federal states’ interest payments. Under Scholz’ leadership, the Social Democrats handily won the 2015 state elections in Hamburg, receiving around 47 percent of the vote.
His coalition government with the Green Party – with Green leader Katharina Fegebank serving as Deputy First Mayor – was sworn in on 15 April 2015. In 2015, Scholz led Hamburg’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics at an estimated budget of 11.2 billion euros, competing against Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest. In 2015, Scholz – alongside Minister-President Torsten Albig of Schleswig-Holstein – negotiated a restructuring deal with the European Commission that allowed the German regional lender HSH Nordbank to offload 6.2 billion euros in troubled assets – non-performing ship loans – onto its government majority owners and avoid being shut down, saving around 2,500 jobs
Hermann Ehlers was a German politician. He was the 2nd President of the Bundestag from 19 October 1950 to 29 October 1954, he was a member of the Christian Democratic Union. Ehlers was born in Berlin on 1 October 1904 to Hermann Heinrich Ludwig Ehlers and Adelheid Louise Auguste Ehlers, his parents moved to Berlin from Sülze shortly before Hermann's birth due to the opening of a job with the post office for the elder Ehlers. Hermann was raised in a politically conservative and evangelical environment. After graduating from vocational school in Steglitz in 1922, Ehlers began studying law at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Ehlers' time at college was influenced by the revolutions, inflation and political radicalization that characterized Germany following World War I, Ehler became exceedingly active in student political groups such as the "Verband der Vereine Deutscher Studenten". Ehlers began studying at the University of Bonn in the summer of 1924, where he began attending the lectures of the famous but controversial professor of constitutional law, Carl Schmitt.
Schmitt, a pioneer in the realm of authoritarian politics inspired Ehlers to write his dissertation on the "Essence and Effects of an Imperial Prussian State." Ehlers was heavily influenced by the early national-socialist Arthur Moeller van den Bruck during this time, began to sympathize with the German National People's Party, a precursor to the National Socialist German Worker's Party of the 1930s. Although enthusiastic about the sense of national awakening that occurred in the wake of the appointment of Adolf Hitler as chancellor, Ehlers was turned away from the Nazi movement by his Christian beliefs and activity within the church. After passing the state bar exam and receiving the title of "Gerichtsassessor" in July 1931, Ehlers began working in the administration service of the Evangelischen Kirche der Altpreußischen Union, he continued to work in various offices for the church throughout the 1930s. In 1937, Ehlers along with three other members of the Confessing Church were arrested by the Gestapo on charges of "disobedience to the state."
These charges stemmed from a decision made by the Confession Church to act against the will of the Reich and publish the names of those who had succeeded from the church for political gain. Since Ehlers was not present at the meeting in which the church decided to publish these names, he was released from prison after only fourteen days, his arrest reflects the fine line he and his fellow church members were walking in relation to the Nazi government. Throughout the remainder of the Nazi-Era Ehlers would continue to identify Hitler's regime as the primary opponent of the church, viewed the ongoing battle as a necessary one: "We no longer oppose an illegitimate church government, but rather the state. We must go the way of disobedience; this will mean an exasperating fight.". Ehlers was drafted into the military on 23 October 1940, assigned to anti-aircraft warfare in Hamburg, he became a candidate for the title of officer on 20 February 1942 and was promoted to lieutenant a year later. Throughout his time in the military he continued to commit himself to the council of the Confessing Church.
Ehlers decided in August 1946 on the basis of his Christian beliefs to begin working with the CDU, began his political career as a councilman in Oldenburg. He was elected to the German Bundestag in 1949, his election as President of the Bundestag in 1950 served as a symbol of the party's commitment to remaining interconfessional. Ehlers death because of a septic tonsillitis on 29 October 1954 in an Oldenburg hospital came as a surprise to all involved. Ehlers was married to Jutta Taubert, who died in Switzerland in 2002. Multiple schools and dormitories within Germany carry his name, the Hermann Ehlers Stiftung continues to operate as a think tank for the CDU to this day; the Evangelical Task Force of the CDU/CSU has awarded the Hermann Ehlers Medal to church and political personalities for their service to evangelicalism since 2004. Michael F. Feldkamp, Hermann Ehlers. Der politische Pädagoge mit Witz wurde zur konfessionellen Integrationsfigur, in: Das Parlament Nr. 1/2 vom 3. Januar 2011, S. 15.
Krüger, Henning. "Hermann Ehlers." Christliche Demokraten gegen Hitler: Aus Verfolgung und Widerstand zur Union. Ed. Buchstab, Günter. Freiburg, Germany: Herder, 2004. 138-147. Print. Http://www.hermann-ehlers.de/
President of Germany
The President of Germany the Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany, is the head of state of Germany. Germany has a parliamentary system of government in which the chancellor is the nation's leading political figure and de facto chief executive; the president has a ceremonial role, but he can give direction to general political and societal debates and has some important "reserve powers" in case of political instability. The German presidents have wide discretion about. Under Article 59 of the Basic Law, the president represents the Federal Republic of Germany in matters of international law, concludes treaties with foreign states on its behalf and accredits diplomats. Furthermore, all federal laws must be signed by the president before they can come into effect, but they only veto a law if they believe it to violate the constitution; the president, by their actions and public appearances, represents the state itself, its existence and unity. The president's role is integrative and includes the control function of upholding the law and the constitution.
It is a matter of political tradition – not legal restrictions – that the president does not comment on issues in the news when there is some controversy among the political parties. This distance from day-to-day politics and daily governmental issues allows the president to be a source of clarification, to influence public debate, voice criticism, offer suggestions and make proposals. In order to exercise this power, they traditionally act above party politics; the 12th and current officeholder is Frank-Walter Steinmeier, elected on 12 February 2017 and started his first five-year term on 19 March 2017. The president is elected for a term of five years by secret ballot, without debate, by a specially convened Federal Convention which mirrors the aggregated majority position in the Bundestag and in the parliaments of the 16 German states; the convention consists of all Bundestag members, as well as an equal number of electors elected by the state legislatures in proportion to their respective populations.
Since reunification, all Federal Conventions have had more than 1200 members, as the Bundestag has always had more than 600 since then. It is not required; the German constitution, the Basic Law, requires that the convention be convened no than 30 days before the scheduled expiry of the sitting president's term or 30 days after a premature expiry of a president's term. The body chaired by the President of the Bundestag. From 1979 to 2009, all these conventions were held on 23 May, the anniversary of the foundation of the Federal Republic in 1949. However, the two most recent elections before 2017 were held on different dates after the incumbent presidents, Horst Köhler and Christian Wulff, resigned before the end of their terms, in 2010 and 2012 respectively. In the first two rounds of the election, the candidate who achieves an absolute majority is elected. If, after two votes, no single candidate has received this level of support, in the third and final vote the candidate who wins a plurality of votes cast is elected.
The result of the election is determined by party politics. In most cases, the candidate of the majority party or coalition in the Bundestag is considered to be the winner. However, as the members of the Federal Convention vote by secret ballot and are free to vote against their party's candidate, some presidential elections were considered open or too close to call beforehand because of balanced majority positions or because the governing coalition's parties could not agree on one candidate and endorsed different people, as they did in 1969, when Gustav Heinemann won by only 6 votes on the third ballot. In other cases, elections have turned out to be much closer than expected. For example, in 2010, Wulff was expected to win on the first ballot, as the parties supporting him had a stable absolute majority in the Federal Convention, he failed to win a majority in the first and second ballots, while his main opponent Joachim Gauck had an unexpectedly strong showing. In the end Wulff obtained a majority in the third ballot.
If the opposition has turned in a strong showing in state elections, it can have enough support to defeat the chancellor's party's candidate. For this reason, presidential elections can indicate the result of an upcoming general election. According to a long-standing adage in German politics, "if you can create a President, you can form a government." The office of president is open to all Germans who are entitled to vote in Bundestag elections and have reached the age of 40, but no one may serve more than two consecutive five-year terms. As yet, only four presidents have been elected for a second term and only two of them completed those terms, while Lübke and Köhler resigned during their second term; the president must not be a member of the federal government or of a legislature at either the federal or state level. On taking office the president must take the following oath, stipulated by Article 56 of the Basic Law, in a joint session of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, they are permitted to omit the religious references.
I swear that I will dedicate my efforts to the well-being of the German
Federal Constitutional Court
The Federal Constitutional Court is the supreme constitutional court for the Federal Republic of Germany, established by the constitution or Basic Law of Germany. Since its inception with the beginning of the post-WW2 republic, the court has been located in the city of Karlsruhe—intentionally distanced from the other federal institutions in Berlin and other cities; the main task of the court is judicial review, it may declare legislation unconstitutional, thus rendering them ineffective. In this respect, it is similar to other supreme courts with judicial review powers, yet the court possesses a number of additional powers, is regarded as among the most interventionist and powerful national courts in the world. Unlike other supreme courts, the constitutional court is not an integral stage of the judicial or appeals process, does not serve as a regular appellate court from lower courts or the Federal Supreme Courts on any violation of federal laws; the court's jurisdiction is focused on constitutional issues and the compliance of all governmental institutions with the constitution.
Constitutional amendments or changes passed by the Parliament are subject to its judicial review, since they have to be compatible with the most basic principles of the Grundgesetz defined by the eternity clause. The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany stipulates that all three branches of the state are bound directly by the constitution in Article 20, Section 3 of the document; as a result, the court can rule acts of any branches unconstitutional, whether as formal violations or as material conflicts. The powers of the Federal Constitutional Court are defined in article 93 of the Grundgesetz; this constitutional norm is set out in a federal law, the Federal Constitutional Court Act, which defines how decisions of the court on material conflicts are put into force. The Constitutional Court has therefore several defined procedures in which cases may be brought before it: Constitutional complaint: By means of the Verfassungsbeschwerde any person may allege that his or her constitutional rights have been violated.
Although only a small fraction of these are successful, several have resulted in major legislation being invalidated in the field of taxation. The large majority of the court's procedures fall into this category. Abstract regulation control: Several political institutions, including the governments of the Bundesländer, may bring a federal law before the court if they consider it unconstitutional. A well-known example of this procedure was the 1975 abortion decision, which invalidated legislation intended to decriminalise abortion. Specific regulation control: Any regular court, convinced, that a law in question for a certain case is not in conformance with the constitution must suspend that case and bring this law before the Federal Constitutional Court. Federal dispute: Federal institutions, including members of the Bundestag, may bring internal disputes over competences and procedures before the court. State–federal dispute: The Länder may bring disputes over competences and procedures between the states and federal institutions before the court.
Investigation committee control Federal election scrutiny: Violations of election laws may be brought before the court by political institution or any involved voter. Impeachment procedure: Impeachment proceedings may be brought against the Federal President, a judge, or a member of one of the Federal Supreme Courts, by the Bundestag, the Bundesrat or the federal government, based on violation of constitutional or federal law. Prohibition of a political party: Only the Constitutional Court has the power to ban a political party in Germany; this has happened just twice, both times in the 1950s: the Socialist Reich Party, a neo-Nazi group, was banned in 1952, the Communist Party of Germany was banned in 1956. In the case of a third political party, the National Democratic Party of Germany has been brought by many other political parties before the court on more than one occasion. Due to logistical reasons, all of these attempts have failed; the court opted to rule that NPD was constitutional in 2003 after it was learned that the German federal government had injected many of its officials as spies into the party for surveillance and security.
Three judges objected to continuing, sufficient as banning a party requires a two-thirds majority. The court itself did not choose to ban the party. In another instance, back in 2016, it was decided by the second senate of the Federal Constitutional Court that the appeal to ban NPD should be rejected because the party itself had such a small proportion of support and influence that it could be sufficiently argued that it was nonexistent at any level of government in the country. Banning NPD was subsequently seen as pointless since it was believed that what few supporters that it had would either proceed to form a new political party with a different title or move to support the Alternative for Germany Party - another far-right political party in Germany, more popular than NPD and is quite arguably seen by many people as constitutionally antithetical. Despite this particular attempt at trying to ban the party, the Federal Constitutional Court did assert that NPD is unconstitutional due to the contents of its ideology and manifesto -
The Bundestag is the German federal parliament. It can be compared to the chamber of deputies along the lines of the United States House of Representatives or the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. Through the Bundesrat, a separate institution, the individual states of Germany participate in legislation similar to a second house in a bicameral parliament; the Bundestag was established by article III of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949 as one of the legislative bodies of Germany and thus the historical successor to the earlier Reichstag. Since 1999 it has met in the Reichstag Building in Berlin. Wolfgang Schäuble is the current President of the Bundestag. Members of the Bundestag are elected every four years by all adult German citizens in a mixed system of constituency voting and list voting; the constitutional minimum number of seats is 598. The Election Day can be called earlier than four years after the last if the Federal Chancellor loses a vote of confidence and asks the Federal President to dissolve the Bundestag in order to hold new general elections.
In the 19th century, the name Bundestag was the unofficial designation for the assembly of the sovereigns and mayors of the Monarchies and Free Cities which formed the German Confederation. Its seat was in the Free City of Frankfurt on the Main. With the dissolution of the German Confederation in 1866 and the founding of the German Empire in 1871, the Reichstag was established as the German parliament in Berlin, the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia. Two decades the current parliament building was erected; the Reichstag delegates were elected by equal male suffrage. The Reichstag did not participate in the appointment of the Chancellor until the parliamentary reforms of October 1918. After the Revolution of November 1918 and the establishment of the Weimar Constitution, women were given the right to vote for the Reichstag, the parliament could use the no-confidence vote to force the chancellor or any cabinet member to resign. In March 1933, one month after the Reichstag fire, the President of the Weimar Republic, Paul von Hindenburg, a retired war hero, gave Adolf Hitler ultimate power through the Decree for the Protection of People and State and the Enabling Act of 1933, although Hitler remained at the post of Federal Government Chancellor.
After this, the Reichstag met only usually at the Krolloper to unanimously rubber-stamp the decisions of the government. It last convened on 26 April 1942. With the new Constitution of 1949, the Bundestag was established as the new West German parliament; because West Berlin was not under the jurisdiction of the Constitution, a legacy of the Cold War, the Bundestag met in Bonn in several different buildings, including a former waterworks facility. In addition, owing to the city's legal status, citizens of West Berlin were unable to vote in elections to the Bundestag, were instead represented by 22 non-voting delegates chosen by the House of Representatives, the city's legislature; the Bundeshaus in Bonn is the former parliament building of Germany. The sessions of the German Bundestag were held there from 1949 until its move to Berlin in 1999. Today it houses the International Congress Centre Bundeshaus Bonn and in the northern areas the branch office of the Bundesrat, which represents the Länder – the federated states).
The southern areas became part of German offices for the United Nations in 2008. The former Reichstag building housed a history exhibition and served as a conference center; the Reichstag building was occasionally used as a venue for sittings of the Bundestag and its committees and the Bundesversammlung, the body which elects the German Federal President. However, the Soviets harshly protested against the use of the Reichstag building by institutions of the Federal Republic of Germany and tried to disturb the sittings by flying supersonic jets close to the building. Since April 19, 1999, the German parliament has again assembled in Berlin in its original Reichstag building, built in 1888 based on the plans of German architect Paul Wallot and underwent a significant renovation under the lead of British architect Lord Norman Foster. Parliamentary committees and subcommittees, public hearings and parliamentary group meetings take place in three auxiliary buildings, which surround the Reichstag building: the Jakob-Kaiser-Haus, Paul-Löbe-Haus and Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus.
In 2005, a small aircraft crashed close to the German Parliament. It was decided to ban private air traffic over Central Berlin. Together with the Bundesrat, the Bundestag is the legislative branch of the German political system. Although most legislation is initiated by the executive branch, the Bundestag considers the legislative function its most important responsibility, concentrating much of its energy on assessing and amending the government's legislative program; the committees play a prominent role in this process. Plenary sessions provide a forum for members to engage in public debate on legislative issues before them, but they tend to be well attended only when significant legislation is being considered; the Bundestag members are the only federal officials directly elected by the public.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier is a German politician serving as President of Germany since 19 March 2017. He was Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2009 and again from 2013 to 2017, Vice-Chancellor of Germany from 2007 to 2009, he was chairman-in-office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in 2016. Steinmeier is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, holds a doctorate in law and was a career civil servant, he was a close aide of Gerhard Schröder when Schröder was Prime Minister of Lower Saxony during most of the 1990s, served as Schröder's chief of staff from 1996. When Schröder became Chancellor of Germany in 1998, Steinmeier was appointed Under-Secretary of State in the German Chancellery with the responsibility for the intelligence services. From 1999 to 2005 he served as Chief of Staff of the Chancellery. Following the 2005 federal election, Steinmeier became Foreign Minister in the first grand coalition government of Angela Merkel, from 2007 he additionally held the office of vice chancellor.
In 2008, he served as acting chairman of his party. He was the SPD's candidate for chancellor in the 2009 federal election, but his party lost the election and he left the federal cabinet to become leader of the opposition. Following the 2013 federal election he again became Minister for Foreign Affairs in Merkel's second grand coalition. In November 2016 he was announced as the candidate of the governing coalition consisting of his own party and the CDU/CSU for President of Germany, thus became the presumptive elect as the coalition held a large majority in the Federal Convention, he was elected as President by the Federal Convention on 12 February 2017, winning 74 percent of the vote. Steinmeier belongs to the right wing of the SPD, known as moderates; as chief of staff he was a principal architect of Agenda 2010, the Schröder government's controversial reforms of the welfare state. His lenient policies towards countries such as Russia and China have earned him criticism both in Germany and internationally, he has been criticized for prioritizing German business interests over human rights.
Steinmeier was born in West Germany. Although his full name is Frank-Walter, to those who know him well, he goes by the name Frank, his father, a carpenter, was affiliated with the Church of Lippe. His mother, born in Breslau, came as a refugee from a Lutheran part of Silesia during the flight and expulsion of Germans after World War II. Following his Abitur, he served his military service from 1974 until 1976, studied Law and Political Science at the Justus Liebig University Giessen, where Brigitte Zypries was a fellow student. In 1982, he passed his first exam, 1986, he passed his second state examination in Law, he worked as a scientific assistant to the professor of Public Law and Political Science at Giessen University, until he obtained his doctorate of Law in 1991. His dissertation explored the role of the state in the prevention of homelessness. Steinmeier has one daughter. On 24 August 2010, he donated a kidney to his wife, Elke Büdenbender. In 2015, Steinmeier served as best man at the wedding of Rüdiger Grube and Cornelia Poletto in Hamburg.
He enjoys jazz, is an avid football fan. He is a Reformed Protestant and an active member of the Reformed Bethlehem congregation in Berlin-Neukölln. Frank-Walter was baptized into his father's church as a youth. Steinmeier became an Adviser in 1991 for Law of Communication media and media guidelines in the State Chancellery of Lower Saxony in Hanover. In 1993, he became Director of the Personal Office for the Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Gerhard Schröder. In 1996, he became the Undersecretary of State and Director of the State Chancellery of Lower Saxony. Steinmeier was appointed in November 1998 as undersecretary of state at the office of the chancellor following Schröder's election victory, he replaced Bodo Hombach as the head of the office of the chancellor in 1999. During this period Steinmeier was one of the advisors to Schröder, he was crucial in securing a red-green majority in parliament for Schröder's contentious "Agenda 2010" of economic reforms. Because of his effective management beyond the spotlight of politics, he was nicknamed Die Graue Effizienz —a pun on Graue Eminenz, the German for éminence grise.
Under Schröder, Steinmeier was responsible for co-ordinating Germany's intelligence services. In 2003, he supported Schröder in his controversial decision to forge a coalition with Russia and France against the U. S.-led war against Iraq. Meanwhile, he approved the decision to install a German intelligence officer in the Qatar-based office of General Tommy Franks, the American commander of the U. S. invasion in Iraq, who passed on to the United States information being gathered in Baghdad by two German intelligence officers operating there. In 2004, Steinmeier participated in diplomatic negotiations settling on compensation payments with Libya for victims of the 1986 terrorist bombing of the LaBelle disco in Berlin. A major controversy during Steinmeier's term as chief of staff was the imprisonment of a German-born Turk, Murat Kurnaz, in Guantánamo Bay from 2002 until August 2006. Steinmeier denied during a parliamentary inquiry in March 2007. Instead, he claimed that Berlin had feared Kurnaz was a threat and should go to Turkey, not Germany, if released.
Only after Merkel's election was Kurnaz brought back to Germany. On 22 November 2005, after the