Schröder, Gerhard

Schröder, Gerhard

biographical name

(born April 7, 1944, Mossenberg, near Detmold, Ger.) Chancellor of Germany (1998–2005). In his youth he joined the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Young Socialists, and, as a law student at Göttingen, he participated in the student protests of 1968. A member of the SPD, he served in the Bundestag (1980–86) and in 1990 succeeded to the premiership of the state of Lower Saxony. His election as federal chancellor in 1998 ended 16 years of conservative rule under Helmut Kohl. Despite continuing high unemployment in Germany, Schröder led his Social Democratic–Green coalition to victory in 2002, and he was reelected chancellor. As the country's economy worsened, he introduced in 2003 a major reform program that proved highly unpopular, and the following year he stepped down as SDP leader. In 2005 the SDP lost the general election, and Schröder was succeeded by Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union.

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