Horst Köhler

Horst Köhler (German: [ˈhɔɐ̯st ˈkøːlɐ] (listen); born 22 February 1943) is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union, and served as President of Germany from 2004 to 2010. As the candidate of the two Christian Democratic sister parties, the CDU and the CSU, and the liberal FDP, Köhler was elected to his first five-year term by the Federal Assembly on 23 May 2004 and was subsequently inaugurated on 1 July 2004. He was reelected to a second term on 23 May 2009. Just a year later, on 31 May 2010, he resigned from his office in a controversy over his comment on the role of the German Bundeswehr in light of a visit to the troops in Afghanistan. During his tenure as German President, whose office is mostly concerned with ceremonial matters, Köhler was a highly popular politician, with approval rates above those of both chancellor Gerhard Schröder and later chancellor Angela Merkel.[1]

Köhler is an economist by profession. Prior to his election as President, Köhler had a distinguished career in politics and the civil service and as a banking executive. He was President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development from 1998 to 2000 and head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2000 to 2004. From 2012 to 2013, Köhler served on the UN Secretary General's High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.[2]

Horst Köhler
Horst Köhler
President of Germany
In office
1 July 2004 – 31 May 2010
ChancellorGerhard Schröder
Angela Merkel
Preceded byJohannes Rau
Succeeded byChristian Wulff
Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund
In office
1 May 2000 – 4 March 2004
First DeputyStanley Fischer
Anne Osborn Krueger
Preceded byMichel Camdessus
Succeeded byAnne Osborn Krueger (Acting)
Personal details
Born22 February 1943 (age 76)
Heidenstein, Occupied Polish Region (now Skierbieszów, Poland)
Political partyChristian Democratic Union
Spouse(s)Eva Bohnet
ChildrenUlrike
Jochen
ParentsEduard Köhler
Elisabeth Bernhard
Alma materUniversity of Tübingen
Signature
Horst Köhler's signature
WebsiteOfficial website

Early life

Köhler was born in Skierbieszów (then named Heidenstein), in the General Government area of German-occupied Poland, as the seventh child of Elisabeth and Eduard Köhler, into a family of Bessarabian Germans from Rîşcani in Romanian Bessarabia (near Bălţi, present-day Moldova). Horst Köhler's parents, ethnic Germans and Romanian citizens, had to leave their home in Bessarabia in 1940 during the Nazi-Soviet population transfers that followed the invasion of Poland and the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which awarded Bessarabia to the Soviet Union. As part of the Generalplan Ost, they were resettled in 1942 at Skierbieszów, a village near Zamość, Poland (then part of the General Government). As the Wehrmacht was pushed back and the first parts of Poland had to be abandoned in 1944, the Köhler family fled to Leipzig. In 1953, they left the Soviet Zone – via West Berlin – to escape from the communist regime. The family lived in refugee camps until 1957, when they settled in Ludwigsburg. Horst Köhler hence spent most of his first 14 years as a refugee.

Studies and military service

A teacher recommended that the refugee boy should apply for the Gymnasium, and Köhler took his Abitur in 1963. After two-years of military service at a Panzergrenadier battalion in Ellwangen, he left the Bundeswehr as Leutnant der Reserve (Reserve Lieutenant). He studied and finally gained a doctorate in economics and political sciences from University of Tübingen, where he was a scientific research assistant at the Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung from 1969 to 1976.

Career in the civil service

Köhler joined the civil service in 1976, when he was employed in the Federal Ministry of Economics. In 1981, he was employed in the Chancellory of the state government in Schleswig-Holstein under Prime Minister Gerhard Stoltenberg. The following year, Köhler was made head of the Ministers office in the Federal Ministry of Finance, upon Stoltenberg's recommendation. He rose to Director General for financial policy and federal industrial interests in 1987. In 1989 he became Director General for currency and credit.

Secretary of State in the Ministry of Finance

A member of the CDU since 1981, he was Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry of Finance from 1990 to 1993, and as such, the administrative head of the Ministry and the deputy of the Federal Minister of Finance (Theodor Waigel). In that capacity, he served as a "sherpa" (personal representative) for Chancellor Helmut Kohl, preparing G7 summits and other international economic conferences. As secretary of state, Köhler negotiated both the German-German monetary union[3] and the final withdrawal of Soviet troops from the GDR in 1994.[4] Besides, he was chief negotiator for the Maastricht Treaty on European Monetary Union, which led to the creation of the euro as the Union’s single currency.

Köhler also played a central role in organizing the enormously expensive privatization of state businesses in Eastern Germany. He organized the Treuhand, the agency charged with selling 11,000 rusting and moribund companies.[5]

Career in banking 1993–2000

Between 1993 and 1998 he served as President of the association of savings banks in Germany, Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband.

In 1998 Köhler was appointed president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and settled in London, where the headquarters of the bank is located. At the EBRD, he took over in September 1998, when the bank was facing annual losses of $305 million, largely due to the financial collapse of Russia. He took stock of the situation, then began to refocus the EBRD's notoriously lax investment policies and tighten up on opulence at the bank itself.[6] At the same time, he was widely reputed to clash with his American vice president, Charles Frank, and other EBRD officials reportedly complained about his temper and management style.[7]

Head of the International Monetary Fund, 2000–2004

Bono U2 with Horst Köhler at Prague 2000 IMF.jpeg
Köhler as head of the IMF, discussing debt relief for developing countries with the musician Bono

Köhler was appointed Managing Director and Chairman of the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2000. The government of Gerhard Schröder nominated him after their first nominee, Caio Koch-Weser, was rejected by the United States.[8] Though respected, Köhler was not a particularly well known or prestigious figure in international financial circles.[9] At the time, he was one of three candidates for the IMF position, with Japan having put forward its former deputy finance minister Eisuke Sakakibara and several African nations backing Stanley Fischer.[10]

In one of his first moves at the IMF, Köhler joined British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown in hosting a gathering of anti-poverty activists to discuss an international campaign to write off billions of dollars in debts that developing nations owe the IMF, World Bank and other government creditors.[11]

Before entering the office of Managing Director, Köhler had spent time in Indonesia during the 1997 Asian financial crisis and thereafter cited it as an example of the fund’s tendency towards intrusive micromanagement.[12] Instead, he intended to focus the Fund primarily on broad economic management and to reduce overlapping activity with the World Bank.[13] Shortly after taking office in 2000, he established the Financial Sector Review Group under the leadership of John Lipsky to provide an independent perspective on the Fund's work on international financial markets, In March 2001, on the group’s recommendations, he created the International Capital Markets Department, a unit to anticipate and head off financial crises in countries to which the fund makes loans.[14]

In 2001, Köhler recommended naming Timothy Geithner to replace Stanley Fischer as deputy managing director; instead, the US government under President George W. Bush successfully pushed for Anne O. Krueger to take the position.[15]

In order to accept his nomination as presidential candidate, Köhler left the IMF a year before his term was scheduled to end in May 2005. Among his accomplishments were overseeing debt crises in Brazil and Turkey and expanding debt relief for the world's poorest countries. He had less success resolving the continuing debt problems in Argentina.[16]

He lived in Washington, D.C., from 2000 to 2004.

9th President of Germany, 2004–2010

Václav Havel and Horst Köhler
Horst Köhler and Václav Havel, 2000

On 4 March 2004, Köhler resigned his post with the IMF after being nominated by Germany's conservative and liberal opposition parties as their presidential candidate. As these parties controlled a majority of votes in the Bundesversammlung (an electoral college consisting of the membership of the Bundestag and an equal number of delegates appointed by the legislatures of each state), the result of the vote amounted to essentially a foregone conclusion, but was closer than expected. Köhler defeated Gesine Schwan on the first ballot by 604 votes to 580; 20 votes were cast for minor candidates, while one elector was absent because of a heart attack. Köhler succeeded Johannes Rau as President on 1 July 2004, for a five-year term. Germany's presidency is a largely ceremonial office, but is also invested with considerable moral authority. From 2004 until early 2006, Charlottenburg Palace was the seat of the President of Germany, whilst Schloss Bellevue was being renovated.

Upon his election, Köhler, a conservative German patriot, said that "Patriotism and being cosmopolitan are not opposites. ... He appeared an enlightened patriot who genuinely loves his country and is not afraid to say so", the newspaper Die Welt wrote. Presenting his visions for Germany, Köhler also said that "Germany should become a land of ideas", and emphasized the importance of globalization, and that Germany would have to compete for its place in the 21st century. Domestically, President Köhler became concerned with the question of how to preserve and create jobs in an internationally competitive environment.[17]

During his presidency, Köhler gained a reputation for regularly voicing his opinion on foreign policy matters. He called for "globalization with a human face" and became a strong advocate of poverty eradication.[18] Already in his inaugural speech, Köhler set his focus on a "fair partnership with Africa" which he described as a question of European self-respect:

"In my view, the humanity of our world can be measured against the fate of Africa. Do Europe's self-respect, its foundations, values and history, not require it to play an honest and generous role in Africa?"[19]

Throughout his six years as President, Köhler "worked hard to put Africa on the top of Germany's political agenda", according to Deutsche Welle.[20] One of his trademark projects was the Partnership with Africa initiative, which brought together heads of state, entrepreneurs, intellectuals and students from Africa and Europe to create a "dialogue of equals".[21] Through unapologetic criticism of both Europe’s negligence of the African continent and of sensitive issues in African politics, including corruption, Köhler gained wide popularity across Africa.[22]

On the eve of his resignation, Köhler presented his book Schicksal Afrika,[23] an edited volume on the continent’s future with contributions from 41 authors, including former African Presidents Thabo Mbeki and John Kufuor as well as Nobel Prize Literature Laureate Wole Soyinka.

By the summer of 2005, he was Germany's most popular political figure, with an approval rating of 72 percent, according to a poll published in Der Spiegel.[24]

In July 2005, he dissolved the Bundestag at Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's request, after the latter had lost a motion of confidence in the Bundestag. This led to early election for the Bundestag in September 2005.

In August 2005, Köhler attended the memorial ceremony for Brother Roger, the founder of the Taizé Community, an ecumenical monastic community in Burgundy.[25]

Horst Köhler in Brackenheim am 31. Januar 2009
Horst Köhler in Brackenheim after unveiling a bronze statue of Theodor Heuss

In October 2006, Köhler made a far-reaching decision by vetoing the bill which would transfer Germany's Air Safety Administration Deutsche Flugsicherung into private ownership. The Bundestag passed this legislation but as President, Köhler was authorized not to sign it into law if, in his opinion, it contravened the constitution. In December 2006 he did not sign the Consumer Information Law (which intended to make information collected by public food safety agencies available to consumers), because the constitution does not allow the federal government to instruct municipal authorities. This can only be done by the German states. There had only been six previous occasions when Germany's president had chosen to reject bills, in most instances less important legislation had been involved. His vetoes were the first notable examples in recent German history.

In March 2007, Köhler turned down a politically contentious request for clemency by Christian Klar, a terrorist from the far-left Red Army Faction. His meeting with Klar had drawn protests from conservative politicians, who said Klar had shown no remorse for his crimes. The president also denied clemency to another member, Birgit Hogefeld.[26]

In his 2007 Christmas address to the nation, Köhler urged the government to push ahead more quickly with reforms. He was also critical of the introduction of the minimum wage in the postal sector (which had led to the loss of 1,000 jobs at Deutsche Post rival PIN Group), stating that "a minimum wage that cannot be paid by competitive employers destroys jobs".[27]

On 22 May 2008, Köhler announced his candidacy for a second term as president. On 23 May 2009 he was re-elected by the Federal Assembly,[28] and was sworn into office for a second term on 1 July 2009.

Resignation

On 31 May 2010, Köhler announced his resignation as President of Germany.[29] This came after German politicians criticised comments made by Köhler in relation to overseas military deployments:[30]

"Meine Einschätzung ist aber, dass insgesamt wir auf dem Wege sind, doch auch in der Breite der Gesellschaft zu verstehen, dass ein Land unserer Größe mit dieser Außenhandelsorientierung und damit auch Außenhandelsabhängigkeit auch wissen muss, dass im Zweifel, im Notfall auch militärischer Einsatz notwendig ist, um unsere Interessen zu wahren, zum Beispiel freie Handelswege, zum Beispiel ganze regionale Instabilitäten zu verhindern, die mit Sicherheit dann auch auf unsere Chancen zurückschlagen negativ durch Handel, Arbeitsplätze und Einkommen. Alles das soll diskutiert werden und ich glaube, wir sind auf einem nicht so schlechten Weg."

"In my estimation, though, we – including [German] society as a whole – are coming to the general understanding that, given this [strong] focus and corresponding dependency on exports, a country of our size needs to be aware that where called for or in an emergency, military deployment, too, is necessary if we are to protect our interests such as ensuring free trade routes or preventing regional instabilities which are also certain to negatively impact our ability to safeguard trade, jobs and income. All of this should be discussed and I think the path we are on is not so bad."

— Horst Köhler, Interview with Deutschlandradio[31], 22 May 2010

After coming under criticism for his statements that Germany's military missions abroad also served to secure trade, critics accused him of advocating the use of "gunboat diplomacy".[32] He subsequently stated that his comments referred to piracy off the coast of Somalia. Köhler stated that there was no substance to accusations that in the interview he had overstepped his formal role by favoring an unconstitutional position. After getting no substantial support in the dispute, Köhler stepped down on 31 May 2010, issuing a statement saying "I declare my resignation from the Office of President, with immediate effect."[33] The resignation was considered a "surprise",[34] and both pundits and opposition politicians labeled it "an overreaction".[35][36] The following days he was criticized for not being able to handle criticism while being a rigorous critic himself. His unprecedented act of immediate resignation was also considered showing a lack of respect for his position.[37]

As stipulated by the German constitution, the powers of the vacant office were executed by the current President of the Bundesrat, Jens Böhrnsen, until Christian Wulff was elected president on 30 June 2010. Wulff himself resigned less than two years later after allegations of corruption were levelled against him. Wulff resigned on 17 February 2012 and was succeeded by Joachim Gauck.

Post-Presidency

Horst Köhler as member of the UN High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Horst Köhler as member of the UN High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Since leaving office, Köhler continues to voice his opinion on selected foreign and domestic policy matters, most notably on Europe-Africa relations, the global fight against poverty and climate change as well as on the need for a new spirit of global partnership.[38]

Between 2010 and 2011, Köhler served as member of the Palais Royal Initiative, a group convened by Michel Camdessus, Alexandre Lamfalussy and Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa to reform the international monetary system.[39]

From 2012 to 2013, Köhler served on the United Nations' High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which was co-chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom.[40] The advisory board was established by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to shape the global development agenda beyond 2015, the target date for the Millennium Development Goals. The Panel produced a final report with recommendations and thereby contributed in the making of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by all UN member states in September 2015.[41]

Within Germany, Köhler is widely regarded as one of the country's most experienced experts on Africa, although he himself has publicly rejected this label, saying in his speech "On the impossibility of speaking of Africa": "The more I learned about Africa, the more I realized how much there still was to learn".[42]

On several occasions, Köhler has officially represented Germany as former President. Köhler took part in Namibia's 25th Independence Day festivities and represented Germany at President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta's inauguration ceremony in Mali the same year.[43] Since 2016, Köhler co-chairs, together with former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a Special Panel of the African Development Bank (AfDB).[44]

In 2017, Köhler was appointed by António Guterres as his new special envoy for Western Sahara, in charge of restarting talks between Morocco and the Polisario independence movement over the disputed territory.[45] In that capacity, Köhler invited the foreign ministers of Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania as well as the secretary general of the Polisario Front in late 2018 for a meeting in Geneva to broker a settlement over the territory;[46] this marked the first time in six years that the involved parties met for negotiations. In 2019, he left his post on health grounds.[47]

Köhler is also working for numerous charities and non-profit organizations, and continues to hold an honorary professorship at the University of Tübingen, his alma mater.[48] Since his retirement from German and European politics, he has held a variety of positions, including:

Personal life

Köhler is married to Eva Köhler, a teacher. They have two children, a daughter Ulrike (born in 1972) and a son Jochen (born in 1977), as well as four grandchildren.[63] His daughter, who suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, became blind as a teenager. Köhler is a member of the Evangelical Church in Germany. A passionate swimmer, runner and cross-country skier, Köhler chooses to spend much of this time in nature.[64] Together with his wife, Köhler currently lives in Berlin and Chiemgau.

Honours

National honours

Foreign honours

Head of the IMF
President of Germany

References

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  2. ^ UN Secretary-General appoints Horst Köhler to High-level Advisory Panel; News Corner of the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations - New York; from 01. August 2012
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  73. ^ "Tildelinger av ordener og medaljer". www.kongehuset.no (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  74. ^ "Cidadãos Estrangeiros Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas". Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas. Retrieved 29 January 2017.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Peter Klemm
Secretary of State in the Ministry of Finance
1990–1993
Succeeded by
Franz-Christoph Zeitler
Preceded by
Johannes Rau
President of Germany
2004–2010
Succeeded by
Christian Wulff
Business positions
Preceded by
Helmut Geiger
President of the Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband
1993–1998
Succeeded by
Dietrich Hoppenstedt
Civic offices
Preceded by
Jacques de Larosière
President of the European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development

1998–2000
Succeeded by
Jean Lemierre
Preceded by
Michel Camdessus
Head of the International Monetary Fund
2000–2004
Succeeded by
Rodrigo Rato
2004 German presidential election

The President of Germany (Bundespräsident) is the titular head of state of the Federal Republic of Germany. The president's tasks are mostly ceremonial, but for the signing of all new federal laws before they go into effect. In practice however, all presidents have had informal influence on politics and society but mostly in a non-partisan way.

The president is not elected directly by the voters but by a special Federal Convention (Bundesversammlung) which is assembled every five years for this task alone. This body consists of the members of the Bundestag and an equal number of members selected by the sixteen federal state parliaments.

The election date was at the time set on 23 May every five years in the national capital Berlin. 23 May is the date the German Grundgesetz was accepted in 1949, but the date will be changed when a President leaves office before the completion of their term (as has happened before). Of the 1,206 members only 549 belonged to the parties that controlled the federal government - the Social Democrats (SPD)) and the German Green Party. Also in their camp were the 31 members of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS). The opposition parties, the (Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) and Free Democratic Party (FDP), however, had a majority of 624 members because they commanded more seats in the federal states. One member belonged to a regional party; one was non-aligned.

Each camp nominated a candidate for the job, although the outcome of the election is very predictable because the members of the convention normally vote with strict party loyalty. As the majority of the opposition was not overwhelming (624 of 604 needed), "dissident" members could cause a surprise.

The CDU/CSU and FDP nominated Horst Köhler. He was head of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., and before that, in the eighties and nineties, he was a senior official and was involved in negotiating both the German reunification treaty and the Maastricht Treaty on behalf of the German government. He is said to be rather modest but independently minded.

The SPD and Greens had nominated Gesine Schwan, currently head of the Viadrina European University in Frankfurt (Oder). She is a renowned political scientist who also has been active for a long time in politics for the SPD - but has not always been in line with the party.

Since 1949, all eight presidents have been men, six members of the CDU or FDP, and two members of the SPD. Once in office, the President can be subsequently re-elected only once. The previous president Johannes Rau (SPD) cited personal reasons for his decision not to run for a second term. Rau died in 2006.

Köhler won in the first voting round, receiving an immediate absolute majority of 604 (50.1%). Schwan won 589 votes, apparently attracting opposition voters.

2009 German presidential election

An indirect presidential election (officially the 13th Federal Convention) was held in Germany on 23 May 2009. The President of Germany is elected by the Federal Convention, which is made up of the members of the Bundestag and an equal number of members elected by the state parliaments.The incumbent Horst Köhler (supported by CDU/CSU and FDP) stood for reelection and faced Gesine Schwan (supported by SPD and Alliance '90/The Greens).The Left (successor of the Party of Democratic Socialism) indicated they might be prepared to support Schwan if the SPD agreed to be open to cooperation with the Left on the federal level, but ultimately decided they would present their own candidate. The party nominated party activist and TV actor Peter Sodann on 14 October 2008; and it was left undecided whether the party would support Schwan if Sodann was eliminated after the first round of voting.

Frank Rennicke was nominated as the joint candidate of the NPD and its sister party the DVU.

Following the Hesse state elections in January 2009, which strengthened CDU and FDP, and the Free Voters' promise to support Köhler, his reelection was seen as likely; however, CDU/CSU, FDP and Free Voters only had a slim majority in the Federal Assembly (50.16%), which made the election very competitive. In the end, Köhler was reelected in the first round of voting by 613 votes, which was exactly the minimum number of votes necessary. His nearest rival's, Social Democrat Gesine Schwan, received 503 votes making a second round unnecessary. It has been seen by some as an important indicator for the federal elections in September.

Atlantic Community

The Atlantic Community was a German-American project to apply Web 2.0 ideas to transatlantic foreign policy strategy. Launched in April 2007 as an undertaking of the Atlantic Initiative, the Atlantic Community aims at facilitating discussion between young thinkers and established members of the foreign policy realm in order to increase participation in a system that, in Europe, is often closed off to the public at large. The Advisory Board of the Atlantic Community is non-partisan, and includes journalist Marvin Kalb, UK Liberal Democrat Lord Wallace, and German diplomat Jürgen Chrobog as members. In January 2009 the Atlantic Community was selected as a "Landmark in the Land of Ideas" by Germany: Land of Ideas. Germany: Land of Ideas is a shared initiative of the German government, commerce, and industry under the patronage of former Federal President Horst Köhler.

Bosehaus

The Bosehaus is a historic house in the Thomaskirchhof, Leipzig, Germany. The building is of 16th century origin, but was updated in baroque style by Georg Heinrich Bose. It currently houses the Bach-Archiv Leipzig and its Bach Museum along with the Neue Bachgesellschaft.

The building was known to Johann Sebastian Bach and it was decided in the 1980s that it would be an appropriate site for a Bach Museum. (Bach's own residence in Leipzig at the Thomasschule was destroyed at the beginning of the 20th century).

The Bosehaus was restored from 2008 to 2010 to comply with the latest safety requirements for archives, and was opened again on 20 March 2010 by the President of Germany, Horst Köhler. The President stressed the importance of avoiding the accidents which had befallen archives such as the Duchess Anna Amalia Library.

Christian Wulff

Christian Wilhelm Walter Wulff (German pronunciation: [ˈkʁɪsti̯an ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈvaltɐ vʊlf]; born 19 June 1959) is a German politician and lawyer. He served as President of Germany from 2010 to 2012. A member of the Christian Democratic Union, he served as Prime Minister of the state of Lower Saxony from 2003 to 2010. He was elected President in the 30 June 2010 presidential election, defeating opposition candidate Joachim Gauck and taking office immediately, although he was not sworn in until 2 July.On 17 February 2012, Wulff resigned as President of Germany, facing the prospect of prosecution for allegations of corruption relating to his prior service as Minister-President of Lower Saxony. In 2014, he was acquitted of all corruption charges by the Hanover regional court.

Eva Köhler

Eva Luise Köhler (German: [ˈkøːlɐ] (listen); born 2 January 1947 in Ludwigsburg as Eva Luise Bohnet) is the wife of the former German President Horst Köhler and as such, was sometimes referred to by the media as the "First Lady" during her husband's presidency.

Felicia Langer

Felicia Langer (9 December 1930 – 21 June 2018) was a German-Israeli attorney and human rights activist known for her defence of Palestinian political prisoners in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. She authored several books alleging human rights violations on the part of Israeli authorities. She lived in Germany from 1990 and acquired German citizenship in 2008. In July 2009, President of Germany Horst Köhler awarded her the Federal Cross of Merit, First class, which is the fifth highest of Germany's federal order of merit's eight ranks. The bestowal triggered a public controversy because of her attitude towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.In 1990, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for "the exemplary courage of her advocacy for the basic rights of the Palestinian people."

Gaisburger Marsch

Gaisburger Marsch (German for "march of Gaisburg") is a traditional Swabian beef stew, named after Gaisburg, a district of Stuttgart.

The meat, cooked in a strong beef broth, is cut into cubes and served with cooked potatoes and Spätzle. The broth is poured over the dish before topping with golden-brown onions fried in butter.

One explanation for the name Gaisburger Marsch is that the dish was so popular in the 19th century among officer candidates that they marched all the way to Gaisburg where their favorite dish was served in the restaurant called Bäckerschmide.

Another version claims that locals from Gaisburg became prisoners of war and their women were only allowed to bring them one meal every day, so they created this nourishing dish and marched with it to the camp.

The district of Gaisburg (today part Stuttgart Ost) hosts annual celebrations with a festival lasting several days.

Gaisburger Marsch is the favourite food of ex-Bundespräsident Horst Köhler, Wolfgang Schneiderhan and Chef Harald Wohlfahrt.

Gerd Langguth

Gerd Langguth (18 May 1946 – 12 May 2013) was a professor of political science at the University of Bonn and the author of biographies of Angela Merkel and Horst Köhler.

Gesine Schwan

Gesine Schwan (born 22 May 1943) is a German political science professor and member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. The party has nominated her twice as a candidate for the federal presidential elections. On 23 May 2004, she was defeated by the Christian Democrat and former president Horst Köhler. On 23 May 2009, both competed again for this position and Horst Köhler won his second term.

Greenpilot

The online portal Greenpilot is a service provided by the German National Library of Medicine, ZB MED.

The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and gets its technical support from Averbis Ltd. The portal first went online May 29, 2009 and currently runs in the updated beta version. In the context of the 'Germany - Land of Ideas' (Deutschland - Land der Ideen) initiative under the patronage of the President of Germany Horst Köhler the ZB MED was awarded the distinction 'Selected Landmark 2009' (Ausgewählter Ort 2009).

Guildo Horn

Guildo Horn (German pronunciation: [ˈɡɪldo ˈhɔʁn]; born 15 February 1963 in Trier as Horst Köhler) is a German Schlager singer. He is mainly famous for his eccentric stage persona, which includes outrageous clothes and very extroverted antics.

At the Eurovision Song Contest 1998, he was seventh with the song "Guildo hat euch lieb!" (Guildo loves you!).

With the Olympic trampolining champion Anna Dogonadze and the referee Markus Merk, he was an ambassador for his native state of Rhineland-Palatinate for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Gunzenhauser Museum

The Gunzenhauser Museum (German: Museum Gunzenhauser) is a museum and art gallery located in Chemnitz; third largest city of Saxony, Germany. It contains 2,459 works by 270 modern artists of the 20th century that have been collected by the art dealer Dr. Alfred Gunzenhauser. The Gunzenhauser Museum was inaugurated in December 2007 in the presence of the German President Horst Köhler and is one of the most important museums of Modern Art in Germany.

Jens Böhrnsen

Jens Böhrnsen (born 12 June 1949) is a German politician of the SPD. From 2005 to 2015, he has served as the President of the Senate and Mayor of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, that is, the head of government of the city-state Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. From 1 November 2009 until 31 October 2010 he was President of the Bundesrat and ex officio deputy to the President of Germany. Because of that he was acting head of state of Germany after the resignation of President Horst Köhler on 31 May 2010 and before the election of Christian Wulff as Köhler's successor on 30 June 2010. After voting for the SPD losses of more than five percentage points in the state election on May 10, 2015 Böhrnsen declared the next day that he would retire as head of government. His successor in the office of the Bremen government was Carsten Sieling, who was officially nominated on 18 May 2015 by the Bremen SPD.

He is a lawyer by profession and served as a judge in Bremen from 1978 to 1995, when he became a full-time politician.

Joachim Sauer

Joachim Sauer (born 19 April 1949) is a German quantum chemist and professor emeritus of physical and theoretical chemistry at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He is the husband of the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. He is one of the seven members of the board of trustees of the Friede Springer Foundation, together with former German president Horst Köhler and others.

President of Germany

The President of Germany, officially the Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundespräsident der Bundesrepublik Deutschland), is the head of state of Germany.

Germany has a parliamentary system of government in which the chancellor (same rights and duties as a Prime Minister) is the head of government. The president has far-reaching ceremonial obligations, but also the right and duty to act politically. What is more, he can give direction to general political and societal debates and has some important "reserve powers" in case of political instability (such as those provided for by Article 81 of the Basic Law). The German presidents, who can be elected to two consecutive five-year terms, have wide discretion about how they exercise their official duties.Under Article 59 (1) of the Basic Law (German Constitution), the president represents the Federal Republic of Germany in matters of international law, concludes treaties with foreign states on its behalf and accredits diplomats. Furthermore, all federal laws must be signed by the president before they can come into effect, but usually they only veto a law if they believe it to violate the constitution.

The president, by his actions and public appearances, represents the state itself, its existence, legitimacy, and unity. The president's role is integrative and includes the control function of upholding the law and the constitution. It is a matter of political tradition – not legal restrictions – that the president generally does not comment routinely on issues in the news, particularly when there is some controversy among the political parties. This distance from day-to-day politics and daily governmental issues allows the president to be a source of clarification, to influence public debate, voice criticism, offer suggestions and make proposals. In order to exercise this power, they traditionally act above party politics.The 12th and current officeholder is Frank-Walter Steinmeier who was elected on 12 February 2017 and started his first five-year term on 19 March 2017.

Simone Kues

Simone Kues (born 8 November 1976) is a German 1.0 point national wheelchair basketball player who plays in the wheelchair basketball league for Hamburg SV. She joined the national team, and participated in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, at which the German team came fourth. She won bronze at the World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Amsterdam in 2006. Her team were won the European championship in 2005, 2007 and 2009. She won a silver medal at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing. The women's national team were voted Team of the Year in disabled sports in 2008, and President Horst Köhler awarded them the Silver Laurel Leaf, Germany's highest German sports award.

Skierbieszów

Skierbieszów [skʲɛrˈbjɛʂuf] is a village in Zamość County, Lublin Voivodeship, in eastern Poland. It is the seat of the gmina (administrative district) called Gmina Skierbieszów. It lies on the river Wolica, approximately 17 kilometres (11 mi) north-east of Zamość and 71 km (44 mi) south-east of the regional capital Lublin. The village has a population of 1,317. There is a castle in the village.

In 1428 the village was given to the bishop Jan Zborowski of Clan of Ostoja and 1453 the village was given rights by the King as a Town. Skierbieszow was a town until 1822 and the coat of arms of the town/village is of Ostoja.

In November 1942 during the Nazi occupation of Poland, the Polish inhabitants of Skierbieszów were expelled from Skierbieszów to make room for German settlers. Former German President Horst Köhler was born in the village during the occupation. The village was briefly renamed Heidenstein until the arrival of Soviet forces in 1944. In 1945-46 the Polish residents began returning to their homes.

Wannweil

Wannweil is a town in the district of Reutlingen in Baden-Württemberg in Germany.

It is located 5 kilometers northwest of Reutlingen between the cities Reutlingen and Tübingen .

It was home of 1990 soccer world champion Guido Buchwald and of Germany's former president Horst Köhler during his study period in Tübingen.

Acting heads of state
IMF Managing Directors
Presidential candidates of the CDU/CSU

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