Rudolf Scharping

Rudolf Scharping
German Federal Minister of Defence
In office
27 October 1998  18 July 2002
Chancellor Gerhard Schröder
Preceded by Volker Rühe
Succeeded by Peter Struck
Chairman of the SPD Parliamentary Group in the Bundestag
In office
10 November 1994  26 October 1998
Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Preceded by Hans-Ulrich Klose
Succeeded by Peter Struck
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
In office
25 June 1993  18 November 1995
Preceded by Johannes Rau (acting)
Succeeded by Oskar Lafontaine
Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate
In office
21 May 1991  15 October 1994
Preceded by Carl-Ludwig Wagner
Succeeded by Kurt Beck
Member of the German Bundestag
In office
10 November 1994  18 October 2005
Personal details
Born (1947-12-02) 2 December 1947
Niederelbert, Germany
Political party Social Democratic Party (1966–present)
Alma mater University of Bonn

Rudolf Albert Scharping (born 2 December 1947) is a German politician (SPD) and sports official. He was from 1991 to 1994 the 6th Minister President of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate and 1998–2002 Federal Minister of Defence. From 1993 to 1995 he was also the national chairman of the SPD. In the Bundestag election in 1994 he was candidate for chancellor. From March 1995 to May 2001 he served as chairman of the Party of European Socialists (PES).

Early life

Scharping was born in Niederelbert. He studied politics, sociology and law at the University of Bonn. He joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in 1966.

Political career

He was a Member of the Rhineland-Palatine Parliament from 1975 to 1994. From 21 May 1991 to 15 October 1994, he was prime minister of the state.

In 1994 he ran as the SPD's candidate for German chancellor against Helmut Kohl (CDU), lost, and became leader of the opposition. His successor for the prime minister post is Kurt Beck. From 1993 to 1995, Scharping was chairman of the SPD, succeeding Björn Engholm. He was then defeated by Oskar Lafontaine in an upset vote at the federal party convent at Mannheim. He was elected as one of five vice chairmen in the same year and re-elected in 1997, 1999 and 2001. He has been member of the Bundestag since 1994. He led the SPD parliamentary group from 1994 to 1998.

In July 1999, he was considered the leading candidate to become the new Secretary General of NATO; however, he declined to be nominated for the position.[1][2][3]

From 27 October 1998 to 18 July 2002, he served as Germany's Minister of Defence. In his period of office, the German Bundeswehr participated for the first time since 1945 in a War outside Germany in former Yugoslavia. Scharping defended the German involvement with the Hufeisenplan, which later turned out to have likely been a hoax. Parts of the German population doubted the compatibility of the military methods, for example the attacks against Yugoslavia by the NATO, with the Grundgesetz.

Scharping was unseated shortly before the Bundestag elections in 2002 because of several political affairs. In the so-called Majorca Affair he had his picture taken in the swimming pool in company of his girlfriend Kristina Countess Pilati while the Bundeswehr was about to begin a difficult mission in Republic of Macedonia.[4] The Moritz Hunzinger Affair was also related to him. Following his dismissal as Minister of Defense, he withdrew his candidacy for reelection as vice chairman as his chances were meagre. His successor was once again Kurt Beck. He kept his Bundestag seat but did not run again in the 2005 general elections.

After his political career, since 2005 he became the chairman of the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer, because he is an active cycling enthusiast.

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  1. Fitchett, Joseph (15 July 1999). "Paddy Ashdown of Britain Is Seen by Some As Leading Candidate for Secretary-General : Hunt for NATO Chief Moves Into New Phase". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  2. Ulbrich, Jeffrey (16 July 1999). "Secretary-general sought by NATO". Associated Press. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  3. Whitney, Craig R. (31 July 1999). "Britain Nominates Its Defense Secretary to Be Head of NATO". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  4. 'Lustwaffe' Minister in firing line - Guardian

Political offices
Preceded by
Carl-Ludwig Wagner
Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate
Succeeded by
Kurt Beck
Preceded by
Volker Rühe
Federal Minister of Defence (Germany)
Succeeded by
Peter Struck
Party political offices
Preceded by
Björn Engholm
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Succeeded by
Oskar Lafontaine
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