Joschka Fischer returns to political fray for German state election

14th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

The former foreign minister will campaign for his Green party in Hesse.

Berlin (dpa) - Joschka Fischer, the German former foreign minister who stepped down from active politics after the September 2005 elections, is to return to the political fray in a forthcoming state election, his Greens party announced Monday.

Fischer, 59, who has spent the intervening period as guest professor at Princeton University in the United States and in setting up a political think tank, is to campaign for the party ahead of the January 27 election in the western state of Hesse.

"We're glad Joschka is coming," the Greens chairman in the state Tarek al-Wazir said ahead of Fischer's appearance at a Greens rally on January 21.

During his term as foreign minister under the chancellorship of Gerhard Schroeder from 1998 to 2005, Fischer regularly topped the opinion polls as Germany's most popular politician.

The former political street activist began his political career in Hesse, where he was environment minister from 1985 to 1987 and again from 1991 to 1994.

The rhetorically gifted politician, who later became renowned for his three-piece suits of Italian cut, is notorious for being sworn into office in the state wearing casual clothes and running shoes.

Perhaps his most famous remark on the international stage was his "I am not convinced" riposte to then US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a Munich security conference in February 2003, when Rumsfeld was making the case for the invasion of Iraq.

Fischer gave up his seat in the lower house of the German parliament in September 2006, a year after Schroeder lost the elections.

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