Philipp Rösler

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Philipp Rösler
File:20130922 Bundestagswahl 2013 in Berlin by Olaf Kosinsky2659.JPG
Vice Chancellor of Germany
In office
16 May 2011 – 17 December 2013
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Preceded by Guido Westerwelle
Succeeded by Sigmar Gabriel
Leader of the Free Democratic Party
In office
13 May 2011 – 7 December 2013
Preceded by Guido Westerwelle
Succeeded by Christian Lindner
Minister of Economics and Technology
In office
12 May 2011 – 17 December 2013
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Preceded by Rainer Brüderle
Succeeded by Sigmar Gabriel (Economics and Energy)
Minister of Health
In office
28 October 2009 – 12 May 2011
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Preceded by Ulla Schmidt
Succeeded by Daniel Bahr
Minister for Economics, Labour and Transport of Lower Saxony
In office
18 February 2009 – 22 October 2009
Governor Christian Wulff
Preceded by Walter Hirche
Succeeded by Jörg Bode
Personal details
Born (1973-02-24) 24 February 1973 (age 49)
Ba Xuyen, South Vietnam
(now Soc Trang, Vietnam)
Political party Free Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Wiebke Rösler (2003–present)
Children Grietje
Alma mater Hannover Medical School
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Official website

Philipp Rösler (born 24 February 1973)[1] is a German politician who was the Federal Minister of Economics and Technology and the Vice Chancellor of Germany from 2011 to 2013.[2] He was also Chairman of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) from 2011 to 2013. Following the 2013 federal election in which the FDP left the Bundestag, Rösler announced his resignation from the chairmanship. Born in Vietnam, Rösler was the first cabinet minister of Asian background in Germany.[3]

Early life and education

Rösler was born in Khanh Hung, Ba Xuyen Province, in South Vietnam (now Soc Trang Province, Vietnam) on 24 February 1973.[4][5] He was adopted from a Roman Catholic orphanage near Saigon[6] by a German couple who already had two biological children, and brought to West Germany at the age of nine months.[5] He was raised by his adoptive father, who is a career military officer, after the couple separated when he was four years old.[7] He grew up in Hamburg, Bückeburg and Hanover, where he graduated from high school in 1992.[8] After training to become a combat medic in the German Bundeswehr (the Federal Defence Force), Rösler was accepted to study medicine at the Hanover Medical School. Following this, he continued his education at the Bundeswehr hospital in Hamburg. He earned his Doctorate in cardio-thoracic-vascular surgery in 2002.[8] Then he left the service as a Stabsarzt (a rank for German medical officers equivalent to an army captain)[9] in 2003.[10]

Political career

File:Philipp Rösler 2013.jpg
Philipp Rösler (2013)

State politics

Rösler joined the FDP and its political youth organization, the Young Liberals, in 1992.[7] He was secretary of the FDP in the state of Lower Saxony from 2000 to 2004 and served as chairman of the FDP parliamentary group in the Lower Saxon state assembly from 2003. From 2001 to 2006, Rösler was a member in the regional assembly of Hanover (district), where he was also deputy chairman of the parliamentary group. In May 2005, he was elected an observer of the federal FDP executive committee. He received 95% of the votes, the best result of that party conference. At the state party conference in March 2006, Rösler was elected as chairman of the Lower Saxon FDP with 96,4% of the votes; he succeeded Walter Hirche, who had decided to step down after twelve years at the helm. In April, 2008, Rösler was confirmed as the Lower Saxon FDP party chairman, receiving 95% of the votes.

At the federal party conference in June 2007, Rösler was re-elected as a member of the party executive committee. The following month, he was elected to stand as his party’s main candidate in the Lower Saxon state election in January 2008. In that election, he received 10.9% of the votes in his local constituency, Hanover-Döhren. On 18 February 2008, Rösler was appointed minister for economy, labour and transport[11] as well as deputy prime minister of the state of Lower Saxony.

Role in federal politics

Federal Minister of Health, 2009-2011

Following the 2009 national elections, Rösler succeeded Ulla Schmidt as Federal Minister of Health in Angela Merkel's second cabinet.[12]

In January 2011, Rösler asked German pharmaceutical companies to refrain from delivering anesthetic thiopental to the US, a request they agreed to. Later that year, he declined a request from his counterpart, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, that Germany help out with thiopental as dozens of US states were facing shortages of a drug necessary in lethal injections administered to death-row prisoners.[13]

Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, 2011-2013

Rösler succeeded Rainer Brüderle as Federal Minister of Economics and Technology on 12 May 2011 and Guido Westerwelle as Chairman of the FDP on 13 May 2011 and was also instated as Vice-Chancellor of Germany on 16 May 2011.[14][15]

On June 7, 2011, Rösler attended the state dinner hosted by President Barack Obama in honor of Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House.[16]

Rösler strongly supported the presidential candidacy of Joachim Gauck, originally proposed by the SPD and Greens, and reportedly secured his nomination by convincing his coalition partner, the CDU/CSU, to back the nomination.[17]

As a consequence of the FDP's defeat in the 2013 state elections in Lower Saxony, Rösler offered to step down as party chairman. The leadership decided that he would remain but not lead the party in the federal elections, instead acting in a team with Rainer Brüderle.[18] Following the defeat of 2013 federal elections, when the FDP was for first time in its history voted out of the Bundestag, he stepped down as a chairman; Christian Lindner became his successor as leader of the FDP.

Life after politics

In January 2014 Philipp Rösler became Member of the Managing Board of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Switzerland.[19]

Other activities

  • Robert Enke Foundation, Chairman of the Board of Trustees (2010-2014)
  • ZDF, Member of the Television Board (2012-2013)

Personal life

He is a Roman Catholic,[20] and a member of the General Conference of the Central Committee of German Catholics. He has been married to Wiebke Rösler, also a physician, since 2003. The couple has twin girls, Grietje and Gesche, born in 2008.



  1. Rösler's exact date of birth is unknown; 24 February 1973 is used in official documents.
  2. "Dr. Philipp Rösler". Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. Retrieved 13 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "German Parties Agree on New Coalition". Der Spiegel. 24 October 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Von Jurgen Damsch (1 November 2009). "Erinnern Sie sich an diesen Waisenjungen, Schwester?". Bild. Retrieved 2 November 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Abgeordnete - Niedersächsischer Landtag". Landtag-niedersachsen. Retrieved 4 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Our guest on 08.02.2009 Philipp Rösler, Politician and Doctor". Deutsche Welle. 8 February 2009. Retrieved 29 October 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Philipp Rösler: From Vietnamese orphanage to vice chancellor". The Local. 10 May 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Diversity in Germany's cabinet". German Missions. Retrieved 4 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. (German)
  10. Biography at (German)
  13. Charles Hawley (June 9, 2011), [European Opposition to Death Penalty: German Minister Denies US Request for Execution Drugs] Spiegel Online.
  14. Gessat, Michael (13 May 2011). "Vietnam-born doctor takes reins of German liberal party". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 13 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Philipp Rösler neuer Vizekanzler" (in German). German government. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Expected Attendees at Tonight's State Dinner Office of the First Lady of the United States, press release of June 7, 2011.
  17. "FDP beharrt auf Gauck: Rösler feiert gefährlichen Sieg - Politik". Retrieved 4 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Melissa Eddy and Nicholas Kulish (January 21, 2013), Merkel’s Strong Standing Takes a Hit in Local German Elections New York Times.
  19. "E: Philipp Rösler". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 9 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "D: Rösler und die Kirche". Oecumene.radiovaticana. 6 April 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Guido Westerwelle
Leader of the Free Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Christian Lindner
Political offices
Preceded by
Walter Hirche
Minister for Economics, Labour and Transport of Lower Saxony
Succeeded by
Jörg Bode
Preceded by
Ulla Schmidt
Minister of Health
Succeeded by
Daniel Bahr
Preceded by
Guido Westerwelle
Vice-Chancellor of Germany
Succeeded by
Sigmar Gabriel
Preceded by
Rainer Brüderle
Minister of Economics and Technology