, Saarland , Germany
|| September 16, 1943
Dec 11, 2006 12:37am
Caucasian - German - Socialist - Anti-Death Penalty - Anti-Social Security Privatization - Pro Environment - Pro-Choice - Pro-Labor - Married - Catholic - Christian - Straight -
|Info||Oskar Lafontaine is a left-wing German politician who was a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) until May 24, 2005 when he quit the party. He studied physics at the University of Saarbrücken. From 1974 to 1985 he was mayor of Saarbrücken, from 1985 to 1998 prime minister of the Saarland. |
In 1990 he was the candidate for chancelorship of the SPD in the federal elections. In 1995, he was elected chairman of the SPD in a surprise move, replacing the luckless Rudolf Scharping. He was mainly responsible for bringing the whole political weight of the SPD to bear against Helmut Kohl and his CDU party, refusing the usual kind of backroom bipartisan cooperation that had characterized German politics for many years. Lafontaine argued that any help given to Kohl would only lengthen his unavoidable demise.
After this strategy had given the SPD an unexpectedly clear victory at the polls in September 1998, he was appointed Federal Minister of Finance in the first government of Gerhard Schröder. On March 11, 1999, he resigned from all his official and party offices because, as he said, he did not like the "lack of cooperation" in the cabinet. More recently, he has become known for his attacks against the current German government in tabloid Bild-Zeitung.
During his short tenure as Minister of Finance, Lafontaine was a main bogeyman of UK Eurosceptics, because among other things he had called for the prompt tax harmonisation of the European Union, the result of which would have been a huge increase in the UK tax burden.
On May 24, 2005 Lafontaine left the SPD. After two weeks of public speculation, on June 10 it was made public that he would run as the lead candidate for a new coalition of leftwing parties: the Labor and Social Justice Party (WASG), which is based in western Germany, and the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) , which is the successor to the East German communist party. He joined the WASG on June 18, 2005 and was selected to head their list for the 2005 Federal Election in North Rhine-Westphalia on the same day. He also contests the constituency of his home city.
Lafontaine is married to Christa Müller and has one son, Carl Maurice (born 1997).