Winfried Kretschmann

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Winfried Kretschmann
Im Gespräch Sylvia Löhrmann und Winfried Kretschmann (2).jpg
Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg
Assumed office
12 May 2011
Preceded by Stefan Mappus
President of the Bundesrat
In office
1 November 2012 – 31 October 2013
Preceded by Horst Seehofer
Succeeded by Stephan Weil
Personal details
Born (1948-05-17) 17 May 1948 (age 67)
Spaichingen, Germany
Nationality German
Political party Alliance '90/Greens
Spouse(s) Gerlinde Kretschmann (since 1975)
Alma mater University of Hohenheim
Occupation Teacher
Religion Roman Catholic

Winfried Kretschmann (born May 17, 1948) is a German politician of the Alliance '90/Greens. He has been Minister-President of the state of Baden-Württemberg since 12 May 2011 and was President of the German Bundesrat from November 2012 until October 2013.

Kretschmann has been a member of the state parliament, the Landtag of Baden-Württemberg, since 1980, in the constituency of Nürtingen. In 2006 he was the frontrunner in the Baden-Württemberg state election for his party, as he was in the state election on 27 March 2011. He was also the chairman of his party's parliamentary group.[1]

Following the state election of 2011,[2] Kretschmann was elected on 12 May 2011 by the combined Green-SPD majority in the Landtag to succeed Stefan Mappus as Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, becoming the first ever Green Minister-President of any German state.

On 12 October 2012 he was elected President of the German Bundesrat for the term from 1 November 2012 to 31 October 2013.[3] This was the first time since 1953, and only the second time ever, that the President was not drawn from the ranks of either the CDU/CSU or the SPD.

Early life and education[edit]

Kretschmann was born at Spaichingen in Baden-Württemberg. His parents were expellees from the mostly Roman Catholic region of Ermland (East Prussia) after World War II.[4] He grew up on the rural Swabian Alb (southern Baden-Württemberg). Kretschmann attended a Catholic boarding school in Sigmaringen and passed his Abitur in Riedlingen. Following his military service, he studied to be a teacher of biology and chemistry (later ethics) at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, graduating in 1977.

Political career[edit]

Early beginnings[edit]

From 1973 to 1975 Kretschmann was active in the Communist League of West Germany.[5] He later denounced this orientation towards the revolutionary positions of the German student movement as a "political misapprehension"; today he is more ecologically oriented and counted among the members of the more conservative wing of the Greens.

After three years as a school teacher at Sigmaringen, Kretschmann went into politics. He is one of the founding members of the Baden-Württemberg section of the German Green Party (at Sindelfingen on September 30, 1979).

In 1980, Kretschmann was for the first time elected into the Landtag, the state parliament, and a first stint of his chairmanship of his party's parliamentary group followed from 1983 to 1985. In 1985 he left Stuttgart to work in Hessen at the ministry of environment, then run by party colleague Joschka Fischer for two years.

In 1988, Kretschmann returned to Baden-Württemberg, being re-elected into the Landtag in 1988. He lost his seat in 1992, but returned – after four years back as a teacher – in 1996 and held his seat in 2001 and 2006. In 2002, he was again elected chairman of his party's parliamentary group.[6]

Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, 2011-present[edit]

In the 2011 state elections, amid a surge in support for the anti-nuclear Greens following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan,[7] a coalition of Greens and Social Democrats won over the former predominating conservative CDU Party; Kretschmann was elected as the new state Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg.[8] He ran on a platform that called for shutting down nuclear power plants, overhauling a public school system the Greens see as elitist, and imposing speed limits on Autobahns.[9] Also, Kretschmann is widely regarded as having benefited from his party's opposition to Stuttgart 21, a massive development project in Baden-Württemberg's capital.[10] Kretschmann’s election ended 58 years of uninterrupted rule in Baden-Württemberg by the Christian Democratic Union party.[11]

As Minister-President, Kretschmann is a member of the German-French Friendship Group set up by the German Bundesrat and the French Senate as well as of the German-Russian Friendship Group set up in cooperation with the Russian Federation Council.

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel held preliminary talks to sound out possible common ground with both the Green Party in an attempt to form a coalition government following the 2013 elections, Kretschmann was part of the Greens’ delegation.[12]

Political positions[edit]

Kretschmann belongs to the more Realpolitik-oriented, centrist wing of the Green Party. His business-friendly approach to policy has caused him to clash with his party on more than one occasion. While he shared his party’s official position of favoring an alliance with the SPD after the 2013 federal elections, he repeatedly criticized its campaign.[13] He objected to the Greens’ election platform of tax increases, warning the leadership in a public letter to avoid any move that would be detrimental to business.[14]

Other activities[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Kretschmann is a Catholic. He is married, has three children and lives in Sigmaringen.

See also[edit]