Wolfgang Schäuble: Wikis

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Wolfgang Schäuble


Incumbent
Assumed office 
28 October 2009
Preceded by Peer Steinbrück

In office
22 November 2005 – 27 October 2009
Preceded by Otto Schily
Succeeded by Thomas de Maizière
In office
April 21, 1989 – November 26, 1991
Preceded by Friedrich Zimmermann
Succeeded by Rudolf Seiters

In office
November 15, 1984 – April 21, 1989
Preceded by Waldemar Schreckenberger
Succeeded by Rudolf Seiters

Chairman of the CDU/CSU group
in the German Bundestag
In office
November 1991 – February 2000
Preceded by Alfred Dregger
Succeeded by Friedrich Merz

Born September 18, 1942 (1942-09-18) (age 67)
Freiburg, Germany
Nationality German
Political party Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
Alma mater University of Freiburg
University of Hamburg
Religion Evangelical Church in Germany [1]
Website wolfgang-schaeuble.de

Wolfgang Schäuble (born September 18, 1942) is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), currently serving as the Federal Minister of Finance in the Second Cabinet Merkel.

From 1984 to 1991 he was a member of Helmut Kohl's cabinet, first as Chief of the Chancellery and then as Federal Minister of the Interior. Between 1991 and 2000, he was chairman of the CDU/CSU group in the parliament, and from 1998 to 2000 also CDU party chairman. He served again as Federal Minister of the Interior in the First Cabinet Merkel from 2005 to 2009.

Contents

Education and career

Schäuble was born in Freiburg im Breisgau as the son of a tax finance advisor. After completing his Abitur (equivalent to British A-Levels) in 1961, Schäuble studied law and economics in Freiburg im Breisgau and Hamburg, which he completed in 1966 and 1970 by passing the First and Second State Examinations respectively, becoming a fully qualified lawyer.

In 1971 Schäuble obtained his doctorate in law, with a dissertation called "The public accountant's professional legal situation within accountancy firms".

He entered the tax administration of the state of Baden-Württemberg, eventually becoming a senior administration officer in the Freiburg tax office.

Subsequently Schäuble became a practising registered lawyer at the district court of Offenburg, from 1978 to 1984.

Family

Schäuble has been married to economist Ingeborg Schäuble since 1969. They have four children, three daughters, Christine, Juliane and Anna, and one son, Hans-Jörg. His brother Thomas Schäuble was Interior Minister of Baden-Württemberg, and has been executive chairman of the Baden Württemberg state brewery "Rothaus" since 2004.

Political involvement

Schäuble's political career began in 1961 with him joining the Junge Union ("Young Union"), the youth division of the CDU. During his studies he served as chairman of the Ring Christlich-Demokratischer Studenten (Association of Christian-Democrat Students, RCDS), in Hamburg and Freiburg. In 1965 Schäuble also became a member of the CDU. From 1969 to 1972 he was district chairman of the Junge Union in South Baden. From 1976 to 1984 he served as chairman of the CDU National Committee for Sport.

After the CDU was defeated in the 1998 federal election, Schäuble became chairman of the CDU. He gave up this post in 2000 in the wake of the party financing scandal, over the acceptance of cash donation over DM 100,000 contributed by the arms dealer and lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber back in 1994. Schäuble's successor was Angela Merkel.

Member of Parliament

Schäuble has been a member of the Bundestag since 1972. From 1981 to 1984 he was parliamentary whip of the CDU/CSU coalition and in November 1991 he became the chairman of the coalition. However, Schäuble gave up this position as well in 2000, as another consequence of the financing scandal. Since October 2002 Schäuble has been deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU.

Wolfgang Schäuble has always been elected to the Bundestag by means of winning an electorate seat, rather than through a list placing in Germany’s system of proportional political representation. At the 2005 federal election he received 50.5% of all direct votes cast within his electoral district No. 285 in Offenburg, slightly lower than the 52.2% he received at the 2002 election.

Public office

1989: Wolfgang Schäuble, German Federal Minister of the Interior

On 15 November 1984 Schäuble was appointed Minister for Special Tasks and head of the Chancellery by Chancellor Helmut Kohl. In this capacity he was put in charge of the preparations for the first official state visit of Erich Honecker, Chairman of the State Council of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), in 1987.

In a cabinet reshuffle Schäuble was made Minister of the Interior on 21 April 1989. In this role he also led the negotiations on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany for reunification with the GDR in 1990. He is now Minister of Finance.

In the 1990s Schäuble was one of the most popular politicians in Germany and there was constant speculation that he would replace Kohl as Chancellor, who lost more and more of his popularity.[1] In 1997 Helmut Kohl stated that Schäuble was his desired candidate to succeed him, but he didn’t want to hand over power until 2002 when the European monitary union would be completed with the introduction of the Euro. However, as the CDU/CSU lost the 1998 election, Schäuble never became Chancellor.

After Eberhard Diepgen was voted out as mayor of Berlin, Schäuble was in talks to be the top candidate for the early election on 21 October 2001, but was rejected by the Berlin branch of the CDU in favour of Frank Steffel.

Some quarters of the CDU and CSU wanted to put Schäuble forward as their candidate for the office of German President, the largely ceremonial head of state, at the beginning of March 2004, due to his extensive political experience. In spite of support from the Premiers of Bavaria (Edmund Stoiber (CSU)) and Hesse (Roland Koch (CDU)), Schäuble did not receive the party’s nomination in the end because CDU leader Angela Merkel, other CDU politicians and the liberal FDP party spoke out against him. This was because the election contributions scandal involving Schäuble that first came to light in late 1999 had never been entirely resolved.

In November 2005, Schäuble once again became Federal Minister of the Interior, this time in the grand coalition under Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In October 2009, Schäuble became Federal Minister of Finance.

Political views

In 1999 Schäuble initiated a CDU/CSU petition campaign against the reform of German citizenship law under the slogan "Integration: yes - double citizenship: no".

During the Iraq War in 2003 Schäuble, in contrast to many German politicians, strongly defended the United States' decision to invade Iraq.

He accused the then Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of lacking an appropriate historical conscience because he accepted alleged human rights violations by the Russian Government without criticism.

Schäuble is also of the view that Europe's problem is not the European Union, but rather certain national governments that cannot resist the temptation to make the EU and Europe the scapegoat for their own national problems. Examples pointed out by Schäuble include the EU's Stability and Growth Pact and the Ministry of Finance's view that the introduction of the Euro would damage the German economy.

In March 2007, Schäuble declared in an interview that the application of presumption of innocence should not be relevant for the authorization of counter-terrorist operations.[2]

Later the same year (2007), Schäuble proposed the introduction of legislation that would allow the German Federal Government to carry out preventive assassinations of what Schäuble labels terrorist suspects, as well as outlawing the use of the Internet and cell phones for people suspected of being terrorist sympathizers.[3]

In February 27, 2008, he called all European newspapers to print the Muhammad cartoons with the explanation, "We also think they're pathetic, but the use of press freedom is no reason to resort to violence."[4]

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Criticism

Recently, criticism of Schäuble centers on his law and order politics, especially in the field of counter-terrorism, for which he is denounced by some civil rights activists. Vocal opponents include the open-source software community.[5] The latest decisions of his ministry have led to a campaign dubbed Stasi 2.0 by its initiators, claiming intentional resemblance to the East German Ministerium für Staatssicherheit.[6]

Controversy was sparked by Schäuble's recommendation in a 2007 interview of a book by Otto Depenheuer, who defended the Guantanamo Bay detention camp as a "legally permissible response in the fight of constitutional civilisation against the barbarity of terrorism".[7]

As a protest against his support for the increasing use of biometric data, the hacker group Chaos Computer Club published one of Wolfgang Schäuble's fingerprints in the March 2008 edition of its magazine Datenschleuder. The magazine also included the print on a film that readers could use to fool fingerprint readers.[8]

In November 2008, a bill giving the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) more authority failed when the some states declared to abstain from the vote in the Bundesrat, the legislative representative of the states. Subsequently, Schäuble suggested to change Bundesrat's voting procedures to discount abstention votes from the total. Many ministers in the opposition criticized his proposal and some called for his resignation.[9][10]

In February 2009, Wolfgang Schäuble's homepage got hacked due to a security flaw in the TYPO3 CMS and the unsecure password "gewinner" (winner). The hack consisted of a defacement which placed a large, easily visible link to the homepage of the German Working Group on Data Retention on the front page.[11]

Assassination attempt

On 12 October 1990, Schäuble was the target of an assassination attempt by Dieter Kaufmann,[12] who fired three shots at Schäuble after an election campaign event in Oppenau, injuring a bodyguard and severely injuring Schäuble's spinal cord and face. Schäuble has been paralysed and confined to a wheelchair ever since. The assassin was declared mentally ill by the judges and committed to a clinic because of psychoneurosis.

References

This article incorporates information from the revision as of 30 May 2006 of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.
  1. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/12/world/bonn-journal-kohl-s-protege-turns-into-kohl-s-challenger.html
  2. ^ Schäuble will Unschuldsvermutung nicht gelten lassen, www.tagesschau.de, April 18, 2007
  3. ^ "German minister's proposal causes uproar", AFP (IOL), July 9, 2007.
  4. ^ German Minister Calls on EU Press to Publish Mohammed Cartoon, Deutsche Welle, February 27, 2008
  5. ^ Slashdot | German Linux Community Boycotting LinuxTag
  6. ^ taz.de | The Man Behind the Schäuble Stencil (German)
  7. ^ Gunter Hofmann (9 August 2007). "Schäubles Nachtlektüre" (in German). Hamburg: Die Zeit issue 33/2007. p. 7. http://www.zeit.de/2007/33/Schaeubles_Nachtlektuere?page=all. Retrieved 2007-12-29.  
  8. ^ CCC publishes fingerprints of Wolfgang Schäuble, the German Home Secretary, Heise Online, published 2008-03-31, accessed 2008-04-17
  9. ^ ddp/ks (2008-11-21). "Schäubles vorschlag stößt auf Welle der Empörung" (in German). Welt Online. http://www.welt.de/politik/article2763806/Schaeubles-Vorschlag-stoesst-auf-Welle-der-Empoerung.html. Retrieved 2008-11-22.  
  10. ^ "Schäuble erntet Fassungslosigkeit" (in German). Tagesschau. http://www.tagesschau.de/inland/innenminister112.html.  
  11. ^ Heise Online. "Typo3 hack on German Interior Minister's web site". http://www.heise-online.co.uk/news/Typo3-hack-on-German-Interior-Minister-s-web-site--/112626.  
  12. ^ "German official injured in attack has more surgery". St. Petersburg Times. 15 October 1990. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=kdAMAAAAIBAJ&dq=dieter%20kaufmann%20assassination&sjid=T18DAAAAIBAJ&pg=6421%2C5856993. Retrieved 2008-10-27.  

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