First openly gay Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister elected in Germany

Discussion in 'Politics & Law' started by Sim, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    After Germany elected the first female Chancellor in 2005, when Angela Merkel (Christian Democrats) took office, another minority has now taken position #2 in the German government: The libertarian FDP's chairman Guido Westerwelle has been elected Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister yesterday. He is the first openly gay man to become minister in the German government:

    The 47-year old from Bonn will become Germany's first openly homosexual vice-chancellor and could win more than the normal three cabinet positions traditionally reserved for the junior partner in a coalition government.

    The FDP leader is best known at home for his espousal of Thatcherite economic reforms. But it is his position on Afghanistan that will make him the welcome face of Germany's foreign policy among the country's allies.

    While Germany's deployment to Afghanistan has become increasingly unpopular, Mr Westerwelle has emerged as the most powerful and articulate proponent of sustained involvement in the war.

    The Free Democrats' support for nuclear energy means that the country is likely to reverse an isolationist decision to mothball the industry within the decade.

    A permanent tan and close fitting suits tailored to a well-preserved physique belie the scars accumulated in eight years as leader of Germany's third political force. As he celebrated victory on Sunday night, he reminded supporters of challenges of holding government office.

    He said: "We are pleased with this exceptional result but we know that above all else, this means responsibility."

    The 47-year old from Bonn does not disguise that his flamboyance has frequently endangered the credibility of the FDP, an economically liberal force that represents the interests of the urban middle class.

    Mr Westerwelle had his official coming-out when he attended Angela Merkel's 50th birthday party in 2004 with his partner, businessman Michael Mronz, and has said he would like to have a family.

    More controversially in Germany, he has appeared on Big Brother and painted the party's election goal of 18 per cent on the soles of his shoes in a widely ridiculed campaign stunt that cemented his foppish reputation.

    But with the 11 years in the political wilderness finally at an end, Mr Westerwelle has a strong imperative not to succumb to the business as usual instincts of the German political class.

    "Of course I made some mistakes when I was young but one grows older and wiser," he admitted earlier this year.

    "But the Germans seem to see us positively - otherwise they wouldn't have given us one of the best results in our history at the last national election."


    Guido Westerwelle (FDP) becomes the first openly gay German Vice Chancellor and minister in the government

    Westerwelle with his partner Michael Mronz

    America elects the first African American to the office of President, and Germany elects the first female Chancellor, and the first openly gay Vice Chancellor and minister -- it seems there is some progress in political culture already in the 21st century.

  2. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    We could have been in that list if we had our first Female president. But maybe in 2012 we'll have a chance at first openly gay president.
  3. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    So Delanoe is still in the race? What's the current situation in the Socialist Party at the moment, btw? The last time I heard about them, there was talk about heavy struggles within.
  4. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    The same old disorder. The political ambiance here is very disappointing. Tomorrow, I'm going to meet with some of my friends who are more passionate (and thus more frustrated) about the French politics. Maybe I can get the scoop. I gave up on following it closely since the whole fight about the PS leadership.
  5. JAdams

    JAdams Registered Member

    Guido Westerwelle. First gay Vice Chancellor/Minster.

    I think the political world's making some progress. :) I'll commit his name to memory. When does he take office?
  6. EllyDicious

    EllyDicious made of AMBIGUITY V.I.P. Lifetime

    nice & weird.
    courageous and rare.
    now ... this made headline as a normal news for him being elected as a vice chancellor or because he's openly gay? lol.
    thanx to the 2nd, he's widely known now.
  7. SuiGeneris

    SuiGeneris blue 3

    I've got to say this is pretty interesting, and I'm glad it has happened.

    There is definatly always the question whether or not he was elected because of his worthiness or because of his sexual preference, there's always forty-five different ways to look at something I suppose.

    I hope we can continually see political progress, and maybe one day we'll have "honest" politicians who are voted on because of their qualities not who they know ;)
  8. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    He was already sworn into office wednesday last week, IIRC. The election was on September 27th. He has already been on a first trip as Foreign Minister to a EU summit, to Poland and now to France.
    My impression is that his sexual preferences didn't play a big role in the election. It was not even mentioned often, and then, parties matter more in German politics (due to our electoral system) than candidates. The good result for Westerwelle's FDP was probably not because or despite he is gay, but because people liked the promise of encompassing tax cuts despite a horrible budget situation. The FDP was the only party to demand large tax cuts... so there is nothing mysterious about the good result for Westerwelle's FDP, but it's the same old story retold. :lol:
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  9. Susano

    Susano Registered Member

    Meh. Of course, he still makes for a bad foreign minister. But then, Im a disgruntled SPD voter (usually, if not this election), ;) and did like Steinmeiers style in office. Not as idiotically naive and idealistic in foreign policy as our PR Chancelloress, that is. With Merkel as Chancellor and Westerwelle as Foreign Minister, Germany will have no really independant foreign policy at all, I fear...
  10. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    "Your word in God's ear", as we say in Germany ... I am skeptical about Westerwelle's skills as foreign minister as well. He never seems authentic, but all the time it seems he is just playing a role. And his refusal to speak English was a bit embarressing too.

    But them, as long as there is no major war, it's probably easy to be foreign minister, as long as you bring in some basic skills as diplomat. And many didn't expect Joschka Fischer to be fit for office, yet he became one of the most popular German politicians.

    So although I'm not a fan of Guido, I keep the fingers crossed and hope he'll be a successful foreign minister, instead of just entering history as the first gay minister.

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