Footsoldier Muentefering resigns from cabinet

13th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

13 November 2007, Berlin - Franz Muentefering, who resigned as German labour minister on Tuesday, has long been the "loyal footsoldier" who put his Social Democratic Party (SPD) before personal ambition throughout a long political career.

13 November 2007

Berlin - Franz Muentefering, who resigned as German labour minister on Tuesday, has long been the "loyal footsoldier" who put his Social Democratic Party (SPD) before personal ambition throughout a long political career.

First elected to the German federal parliament, the Bundestag, in 1975, when he was 35, Muentefering has occupied all the senior positions within the party, resigning as SPD chairman at the end of 2005.

He has also held high office both at state level in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, and at national level, where he served as transport minister from 1998-99 under SPD chancellor Gerhard Schroeder until party duties called once again.

When Schroeder failed to hang on to power in the 2005 elections, it was Muentefering who carried the party's banner into Christian Democrat Chancellor Angela Merkel's broad coalition, becoming vice-chancellor and labour minister.

And it was Muentefering who - unsuccessfully - defended the market reforms Schroeder had convinced the traditional party of the German left to adopt, when new SPD Chairman Kurt Beck moved to roll them back this year.

His wife's prolonged illness was the immediate reason for Muentefering's resignation, but at the age of 67 he clearly felt he had no ambitions to fulfil, either within the party, which he joined in 1966, or in national politics.

DPA

Subject: German news

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