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Matthias Platzeck

Assumed office 
Preceded by Manfred Stolpe

In office
2004 – 2005
President Johannes Rau
Horst Köhler
Chancellor Gerhard Schröder
Preceded by Dieter Althaus
Succeeded by Peter Harry Carstensen

In office
November 25, 2005 – April 10, 2006
Preceded by Franz Müntefering
Succeeded by Kurt Beck

Born December 29, 1953 (1953-12-29) (age 56)
Potsdam, then German Democratic Republic, now Federal Republic of Germany
Political party SPD, formerly Alliance 90 and Greens
Spouse(s) Ute Bankwitz (1978-1984)
Children 3

Matthias Platzeck (born 29 December 1953) is a German politician. He has been Minister-President of Brandenburg since 2002 and party chairman of the SPD from November 2005 to April 2006.



Private life

Platzeck was born in Potsdam as the son of a physician. After his Abitur and military service he studied biomedical cybernetics in Ilmenau. After his diploma in 1978 Platzeck worked at the institute for hygiene in Karl-Marx-Stadt (today Chemnitz) and the general hospital in Bad Freienwalde. From 1982 to 1990 he was head of the department for environmental hygiene at the agency for hygiene in Potsdam.

From 1978 to 1984 Platzeck was married to Ute Bankwitz. They have three daughters. His present partner is Jeanette Jesorka.

Political career

Matthias Platzeck in 1991
Matthias Platzeck in 2005

Platzeck represented ARGUS, a Potsdam environmental organization he had co-founded, at the founding of the Grüne Liga association of local environmental organizations in East Germany in 1989. During the political "Wende" 1989/90 that led to German Reunification he was their speaker at the nationwide roundtable talks. From February to April 1990 he represented the oppositional radical Green Party as Minister without Portfolio in the last non-democratically legitimate government of the GDR. Platzeck was elected member of the Volkskammer in 1990 for the Green Party and was parliamentary secretary of the joined faction of Greens and Bündnis 90 (Alliance 90). In October 1990 Platzeck became a member of the Landtag of Brandenburg for Bündnis 90 (Alliance 90). He was Minister for the Environment in a coalition government with SPD and FDP from 1990 to 1994 when the coalition broke up.

Rejecting the merger of his party with the West German Green Party he did not join the new party Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in 1993. Instead, he became member of the SPD in 1995.

After the break of the Brandenburg coalition in 1994 Platzeck left his faction and remained Minister for the Environment under Minister-president Manfred Stolpe. He became popular nationwide for organizing public support for the affected population during a flood of the Oder river in 1997. In 1998 he was elected mayor of Brandenburg's capital Potsdam and rejected the offer of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to join the federal cabinet.

In 2000 Platzeck was elected chairman of the SPD in Brandenburg and in 2002 he succeeded Manfred Stolpe as Minister-president. His was re-elected to the Landtag (state parliament) in 2004. With the SPD as strongest political force he could continue his coalition with the CDU. He served as President of the Bundesrat in 2004/05.

When Franz Müntefering resigned as party chairman of the SPD because of internal conflicts, Platzeck was elected party chairman on November 15, 2005 with an overwhelming majority of 99,4 percent. In January, February and April 2006 Platzeck suffered three severe hearing losses. Due to his ill health he resigned from his post as chairman on 10 April, 2006, only five months after he had become chairman.

Party political offices
Preceded by
Franz Müntefering
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Succeeded by
Kurt Beck


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