Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel

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Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel
0129R-SPD, Thorsten Schaefer-Guembel.jpg
Personal details
Born (1969-10-01) October 1, 1969 (age 47)
Political party SPD

Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel (né Schäfer, born 1 October 1969, Oberstdorf, Germany) is a German politician of the SPD.

He is currently the leader of the opposition SPD party bloc in the Hessian state parliament. He lost his bid for the office of minister-president of Hesse in the January 2009 Hessian state election, where he had challenged incumbent Roland Koch (CDU).[1] Schäfer-Gümbel has been deputy leader of the SPD since December 2013.


Schäfer-Gümbel was born to a West German soldier stationed in the far south of Bavaria in Oberstdorf. However, he grew up in Hesse in the city of Gießen. He briefly studied Agrarian Science at Justus-Liebig-University Gießen, after which he changed to Political Science. Supported by a scholarship of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, he graduated with a Master's degree in 1997, he took various minor political positions. He is married and has three children.


Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel 2016

Schäfer-Gümbel was involved with the Social and Youth department of Gießen from the late 1990s. He became a local adviser to the SPD, a party which he had joined at the age of 17, and was also a local delegate of the SPD in the local government (Kreistag) in Gießen. He quickly moved up the ranks in the Hessian SPD party machine, and was a candidate on the SPD party list during the 2003 Landtag election. He gained a seat in 2003, and has been a member of the Hessian Landtag ever since. He was re-elected in the 2008 Landtag election and in the 2009 special election; however he was elected as part of the party list and not on a direct mandate, as he lost his local race to the CDU candidate.

In late 2008, following a political crisis and Andrea Ypsilanti's resignation, Schäfer-Gümbel became the SPD's party leader in Hesse and the SPD candidate for minister-president of Hesse. Due to the poor faring by the SPD in the 2009 special election, he lost position to the CDU's Roland Koch. He has been party leader of the opposition SPD since January 29, 2009. Schäfer-Gümbel was a delegate to the Federal Convention for the purpose of electing the President of Germany in 2009, 2010 and 2012.

In the negotiations to form a Grand Coalition of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU together with the Bavarian CSU) and the SPD following the 2013 federal elections, Schäfer-Gümbel was part of the SPD delegation in the working group on energy policy, led by Peter Altmaier and Hannelore Kraft.[2]

Political positions[edit]

Schäfer-Gümbel has openly supported the trotskyist Hands Off Venezuela campaign, and has spoken highly of former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.[citation needed]

Other activities[edit]


  1. ^ "Germany's Ypsilanti Drops Race, Schaefer-Guembel to Lead Bid". Reuters. 2008-11-08. Retrieved 2008-12-05. 
  2. ^ Die SPD in den Arbeitsgruppen Social Democratic Party of Germany, press release of 23 October 2013.

External links[edit]