Rudolf Scharping

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Rudolf Scharping (2 December 1947 in Niederelbert) is a German politician (SPD).

Scharping studied politics, sociology and law at the University of Bonn. He joined the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in 1966. He was Member of the Rhineland-Palatine Parliament from 1975 to 1994. From 21 May 1991 to 15 October 1994 he was prime minister of the state. In 1994 he ran as the SPD's candidate for German chancellor against Helmut Kohl (CDU), lost, and became leader of the opposition. His successor for the prime minister post is Kurt Beck.

From 1993 to 1995, Scharping was chairman of the SPD, succeeding Björn Engholm. He was then defeated by Oskar Lafontaine in an upset vote at the federal party convent at Mannheim. He was elected as one of five vice chairmen in the same year and re-elected in 1997, 1999 and 2001. He has been member of the Bundestag since 1994. He led the SPD parliamentary group from 1994 to 1998.

From 27 October 1998 to 18 July 2002 he served as Germany's Minister of Defence. In his period of office, the German Bundeswehr participated for the first time since 1945 in a War outside Germany in former Yugoslavia.

Scharping was unseated shortly before the Bundestag elections in 2002, due to several political affairs. In the so-called Majorca Affair he had his picture taken in the swimming pool in company of his girlfriend Kristina Countess Pilati while the Bundeswehr was about to begin a difficult mission in republic of Macedonia. The......
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