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Peter Harry Carstensen

Peter Harry Carstensen

Assumed office 
27 April 2005
Preceded by Heide Simonis

Born March 12, 1947 (1947-03-12) (age 62)
Elisabeth-Sophien-Koog, Germany
Nationality  Germany
Political party Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
Profession Teacher
Religion Protestant

Peter Harry Carstensen (born 12 March 1947) is a German politician, in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.

Since 2005 he has been Minister President of the state of Schleswig-Holstein, serving as President of the Bundesrat in 2005/06.


Early life, education and career

Carstensen was born in Elisabeth-Sophien-Koog/Nordstrand, on the North Sea coast of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. He passed his Abitur in 1966 and worked in agriculture before beginning a course of study in agronomy in 1968, finishing in 1973 as a qualified engineer. During his studies Carstensen became a member of the Burschenschaft Landsmannschaft Troglodytia im Coburger Convent and did not leave the organisation until 1998. In 1976 he passed the Second State Examination (Zweites Staatsexamen) to become a teacher, following which he was employed as a teacher of agriculture at the Bredstedt Agricultural School and also as an economics adviser in the Agricultural Ministry of Schleswig-Holstein until 1983.


Peter Harry Carstensen is widowed and has two daughters. His younger daughter is the ceramist Anja-Christina Carstensen. In August 2004 the Bild newspaper hunted for a new wife with Carstensen’s agreement - a decision that he in hindsight regrets.


Carstensen has been a member of the CDU since 1971. From 1986 to 1992 he was leader of the local CDU in the Nordfriesland district becoming leader, on 2 June 2002. Carstensen was the CDU’s top candidate for the 2005 state election, in which Carstensen led the CDU to its best result since Uwe Barschel’s resignation in 1987 with 40.2% of all votes cast, making the CDU the strongest party in the state parliament for the first time since 1983. From 1 March to 27 April 2005 Carstensen was leader of the CDU in the state parliament.

Member of Parliament

From 1983 Carstensen was a member of the Bundestag. From 1994 to 2002 he was chairman of the committee for Nutrition, Agriculture and Forestry (after the renaming of the corresponding ministry in 2001 the committee became responsible for Consumer Protection, Nutrition and Agriculture). In the current parliamentary term he was a full member of the committee. From October 2002 Carstensen was chairman of the CDU/CSU working party for Consumer Protection, Nutrition and Agriculture in the Bundestag. Peter Harry Carstensen was directly elected MP of electorate 2 (Nordfriesland - Dithmarschen-Nord), receiving 44.3% of all votes cast in the last election. Carstensen left the Bundestag on 20 April 2005.

He has been a member of the state parliament of Schleswig-Holstein since 2005.

Public office

Carstensen was the CDU's candidate for premier of Schleswig-Holstein in the state election of 20 February 2005, but the coalition of the CDU and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) failed to obtain a majority by some 700 votes. The Social Democrat (SPD) office-holder Heide Simonis thus tried to form a minority cabinet of the SPD and Bündnis '90/Die Grünen (the Green party) tolerated by the Danish minority party SSW.

In the vote to decide the premier of Schleswig-Holstein in the opening session of the state parliament on 17 March 2005 incumbent Heide Simonis (SPD) did not receive the required majority. Subsequently successful negotiations between the SPD and CDU led to the formation of a grand coalition between SPD and CDU. On 27 April 2005 Carstensen was finally elected premier of the state of Schleswig-Holstein with a majority of 54 votes (out of the grand coalition’s 59).

In July 2009 Carstensen announced that he would seek early state elections as a result of ongoing quarrels within the coalition government. After the Elections of 27 September 2009 Carstensen was reelected on 27 October 2009.

Carstensen has also been President of the Bundesrat, Germany's upper house of parliament.


Carstensen was awarded the Order of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesverdienstkreuz) in 1996.


This article draws heavily on the corresponding article in the German-language Wikipedia.

External links

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