Schleswig-Holstein’s ex-Prime Minister Heide Simonis is dead

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Status: 07/12/2023 5:42 p.m

As the first female Prime Minister of a federal state, she made history. Their political failure was also spectacular. SPD politician Heide Simonis governed Schleswig-Holstein for many years. Now she is dead.

She was the first female prime minister in the history of the Federal Republic: SPD politician Heide Simonis was head of government in Schleswig-Holstein from 1993 to 2005. Now she died shortly after her 80th birthday, as the SPD state chairman Serpil Midyatli announced. Simonis died at home in Kiel.

Recently it had become quiet around the politician, who had made her Parkinson’s disease public many years ago and gradually withdrew from the public eye.

With 33 in the Bundestag

In her political life, on the other hand, things were not very calm. In 1976 she was elected to the Bundestag in Bonn – at the age of 33 she was the youngest member of parliament to date. She quickly developed into a budget expert, moving to Schleswig-Holstein in 1988 and becoming finance minister in the cabinet of SPD hopeful Björn Engholm.

Her hour came in 1993, in the midst of extremely turbulent times, in which the so-called Barschel affair shook state politics in Kiel. She replaced Engholm, who had failed due to the late effects of the Barschel scandal in 1987 and had to resign.

Who is the deviant?

First, Simonis led a one-party SPD government, then from 1996 to 2005 a red-green coalition. Her political career ended spectacularly: in the prime ministerial election on March 17, 2005, a dissenter refused her vote in four rounds; because of this her re-election in the state parliament failed. After a close state election, Simonis wanted to continue governing with a red-green minority government – supported by the South Schleswig Voters’ Association (SSW), the party of the Danish minority in Schleswig-Holstein. The dissenter from their own ranks is still publicly unknown to this day – the “Heide murderer” has never identified himself.

Simonis ended her political career and looked for new jobs, such as at UNICEF. She only occasionally supported her party in election campaigns or gave interviews, especially because of the events of 2005 she was still in demand as a conversation partner for a long time.

More information coming soon.

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