Franz Müntefering

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Franz Müntefering
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
In office
18 October 2008 – 13 November 2009
Preceded by Kurt Beck
Succeeded by Sigmar Gabriel
Vice Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
In office
22 November 2005 – 21 November 2007
Preceded by Joschka Fischer
Succeeded by Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Minister of Labour and Social Affairs
In office
22 November 2005 – 21 November 2007
Preceded by Wolfgang Clement
Succeeded by Olaf Scholz
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
In office
21 March 2004 – 15 November 2005
Preceded by Gerhard Schröder
Succeeded by Matthias Platzeck
Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs
In office
27 October 1998 – 29 September 1999
Preceded by Eduard Oswald
Succeeded by Reinhard Klimmt
Personal details
Born (1940-01-16) 16 January 1940 (age 82)
Neheim, Germany
Nationality German
Political party SPD
Relations Michelle Schumann
Occupation Industrial manager, politician
Religion Roman Catholicism

Franz Müntefering [fʁants ˈmʏntəˌfeʁɪŋ] (born 16 January 1940) is a German politician and industrial manager. He was Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) from 2004 to 2005 and again from 18 October 2008 to 13 November 2009. He served as Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, as well as Vice-Chancellor, from 2005 to 2007.


He was born in Neheim (now part of Arnsberg) and joined the SPD in 1966. He was a member of the Bundestag from 1975 to 1992 and again since 1998; from 1995 to 1998 he was a member of the Landtag (state parliament) of North Rhine-Westphalia.

He was Bundesgeschäftsführer (executive director) of the national SPD from 1995 to 1998, and after holding briefly the post of Minister of Transportation and Construction in the first cabinet of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, he was the first to hold the new post of SPD General Secretary from 1999 to 2002, and thereafter became leader of the SPD fraction in the Bundestag. In February 2004 he was designated to succeed Schröder as party chairman in March 2004.[1]

In April 2005, Müntefering criticized the market economy of Germany and proposed more state involvement to promote economic justice. In this speech, he described private equity firms as "locusts". He subsequently published a "locust list" of companies, which he circulated within the SPD.[2] This began a debate which dominated the national news, being the subject of front-page articles and covered on the main television news broadcasts nearly every day. Müntefering's suggestions were criticized by employers and many economists, but met with popular support (up to 75% in some opinion polls).

On 31 October 2005, Müntefering's favoured candidate for Secretary General of the SPD, Kajo Wasserhövel, was defeated by the left-wing candidate Andrea Nahles in a preliminary internal election. Müntefering subsequently announced his intention to resign as SPD Chairman, and was succeeded by Matthias Platzeck at the next party convention on 15 November 2005. Platzeck resigned from this position in April 2006, and his successor was Kurt Beck.

Müntefering became Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and Vice-Chancellor in the cabinet of Angela Merkel on 22 November 2005. After two years in those posts, Müntefering's spokesman said on 13 November 2007 that Müntefering would resign from them later in the month. The decision was said to be based on "purely familial reasons".[3] Later in the day, Müntefering said that he would leave his positions in the government on 21 November attributing his decision to the illness of his wife, Ankepetra, who was suffering from cancer.[4] Upon leaving office on 21 November 2007, he was replaced as Vice-Chancellor by Frank-Walter Steinmeier and as Minister of Labor by Olaf Scholz, both of whom are also members of the SPD.[5]

Müntefering's wife Ankepetra died on 31 July 2008. Following her death, Müntefering decided to return to active politics and was elected Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany on 18 October 2008.[6] On 7 September 2008, Kurt Beck resigned as SPD Chairman, and Müntefering succeeded Beck in that post.[6][7]

Following the SPD's defeat in the federal election of 2009, Müntefering resigned from the position of party chairman of the Social Democratic Party.

Currently, Müntefering serves as the Chair of the advisory board of the Berlin Demography Forum.


  1. Udo Kempf/ Hans-Georg Merz (eds.): Kanzler und Minister 1998-2005. Biographisches Lexikon der deutschen Bundesregierungen. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2008, p. 243.
  3. "German Labor Minister Müntefering to Resign", Deutsche Welle, November 13, 2007.
  4. Andreas Cremer and Brian Parkin, "Muentefering, Vice-Chancellor Under Merkel, Quits",, 13 November 2007.
  5. "Merkel defends record as Germany's tense governing coalition hits 2-year mark", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), 21 November 2007.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Judy Dempsey, "German foreign minister picked to challenge Merkel", International Herald Tribune, 7 September 2008.
  7. "German SPD party reshuffles leadership, with eye on election", Xinhua, 7 September 2008.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Matthias Wissmann
as German Minister of Transport
German Minister of Transport, Building and Housing
Succeeded by
Reinhard Klimmt
Preceded by
Eduard Oswald
as German Minister of Regional Planning, Building and Urban Development
Preceded by
Wolfgang Clement
as German Minister for Economics and Labour
German Minister of Labour and Social Affairs
Succeeded by
Olaf Scholz
Preceded by
Joschka Fischer
Vice Chancellor of Germany
Succeeded by
Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Party political offices
Preceded by
General Secretary of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Succeeded by
Olaf Scholz
Preceded by
Gerhard Schröder
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Succeeded by
Matthias Platzeck
Preceded by
Kurt Beck
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Succeeded by
Sigmar Gabriel