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Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul

In office
27 October 1998 – 27 October 2009
Preceded by Carl-Dieter Spranger
Succeeded by Dirk Niebel

Born November 21, 1942 (1942-11-21) (age 67)
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Nationality German
Political party SPD
Alma mater Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
Profession Teacher

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul (born November 21, 1942 in Frankfurt am Main) is a German politician and a member of the Social Democratic Party since 1965.


Wieczorek-Zeul is a prominent figure of the Social Democrats' left wing and is often called "Red Heidi". From 1974 to 1977, she was the Jusos' chair which is the youth organisation of the SPD (Young Socialists)[1].

After the resignation of party leader Björn Engholm in 1993, she stood for the Social Democrats' candidacy for the chancellor's office[2], but lost to Rudolf Scharping. Scharping won 40% of all votes cast by the party members, Schröder 33% and Wieczorek-Zeul 27%.[3] It was the first time (and so far only time) the party members were asked to elect the new party leader.

When Gerhard Schröder (SPD) became German chancellor in 1998, she served as Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development. She kept her office after Schröder's defeat in 2005. In this office she initiated the EU's target of increasing its development aid from 0.51% by 2010 to 0.7% of the GDP by 2015[1][4].

In July 2006, Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland (Central Council of Jews in Germany), demanded her resignation after Wieczorek-Zeul had called Israeli use of cluster bombs "totally unacceptable under international law".

In 2009, she criticized statements made by Pope Benedict XVI on the futility of condoms in AIDS prevention.[5]


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  5. ^ Pope's comments on condoms draw criticism from France and Germany

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