Horst Seehofer

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Horst Seehofer (2012) Signature of Horst Seehofer

Horst Lorenz Seehofer (born July 4, 1949 in Ingolstadt ) is a German politician ( CSU ). Since March 2018 he is Minister of the Interior, for construction and home in the Cabinet Merkel IV and since 2019 Honorary Chairman of the CSU.

From 2008 to 2018 he was Bavarian Prime Minister , 2008 to 2019 Chairman of the CSU and from 2013 to 2018 a member of the Bavarian State Parliament .

At the federal level, Seehofer was Federal Minister of Health from 1992 to 1998 , and Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection from 2005 to 2008 . He was a member of the CSU Bundestag from 1980 to 2008.


Origin and family

Karin and Horst Seehofer at the opening of the 32nd Munich Film Festival (2014)

Seehofer and his three siblings grew up as working-class children - the father Lorenz Seehofer was a truck driver and construction worker, the mother Grete Seehofer a housewife - in a conservative Catholic family in Ingolstadt. Seehofer has been married for the second time since 1985 (first marriage from 1974 to 1982 to Christine Hildegard) and from this marriage has three adult children (Ulrike, Andreas, Susanne) with the trained administrative clerk Karin Seehofer (* 1958); He has another daughter from an extramarital relationship, born in 2007.

He is of the Roman Catholic denomination and has his residence in the Ingolstadt district of Gerolfing .

Education and professional activity (1961 to 1980)

Horst Seehofer (center) as a young State Secretary in 1989 in Bonn

From 1961 to 1965 he attended the Freiherr-von-Ickstatt-Knabenrealschule in Ingolstadt up to middle school . He then completed an apprenticeship as a messenger ( salary group A 1 ) in the municipal administration of Ingolstadt. In his free time he played handball at ESV Ingolstadt . Seehofer passed the administrative examination for middle service in 1967 at the Bavarian Administration School in Munich. In 1970 he rose as a local civil servant to the higher service as administrative inspector. From 1974 to 1980 Seehofer was managing director of the planning association and the rescue association of the planning region Ingolstadt and for the district offices of Ingolstadt and Eichstätt in a leading administrative function. Seehofer describes himself as an "experienced lawyer".

In 1979 he graduated from the Administration and Business Academy in Munich (as the best of his year) with a degree in business administration (VWA) . From 1980 to 2014 (reaching retirement age) Horst Seehofer was on leave as a Bavarian municipal official.

Party and parliamentary activity

CSU politician (since 1971)

After joining the Junge Union in 1969, he also joined the CSU in 1971. From September 1994 until his election as chairman of the CSU in October 2008, he was deputy chairman of the CSU. He was also chairman of the CSU Workers' Union (CSA). After Edmund Stoiber declared in January 2007 that he wanted to give up both the party chairmanship and the office of prime minister in September 2007, Seehofer announced that he wanted to run for the party chairmanship.

In surveys of January 2007, the Bavarian electorate to their preferred Stoiber successors was Seehofer far ahead, especially after the announcement of collusion between Günther Beckstein and Erwin Huber , while Huber still behind Beckstein, Alois Glück , Gabriele Pauli and Joachim Herrmann fell back .

In the same month BILD published information about a long-term extramarital relationship in which Seehofer became a father (he already had three children from his marriage). BILD justified the revelation by stating that Seehofer had always "advertised his private life in a big way, whoever uses it politically has to be measured against it." Occasionally other journalists supported this position. The targeted indiscretions towards the Bild newspaper were attributed to the internal CSU power struggle by other media. The publication at the height of the CSU power struggle triggered a wave of solidarity. According to a Forsa survey in Bavaria in June 2007, the coverage of the affair and the illegitimate child affected Seehofer's reputation. 53% of those questioned believed that this had caused his reputation to decline in the previous months. In the same month, party friends publicly urged Seehofer to sort out his private circumstances before the election; Seehofer announced at the beginning of July 2007 that he would stay with his wife. The clarification of the private circumstances provided great relief in the CSU.

At the party convention of the CSU in Munich on September 29, 2007 he lost 39.1% to his competitor for the party chairmanship, Bavaria's Minister of Economics, Erwin Huber, who received 58.19% of the delegate's votes. The third competitor was the Fürth district administrator Gabriele Pauli with 2.5% of the votes. At Huber's suggestion, Seehofer was re-elected as deputy party chairman with 91.81%.

Member of the Bundestag (1980 to 2008)

Seehofer was a member of the German Bundestag from 1980 to 2008 . From 1983 until his appointment as State Secretary in 1989, he acted as the social policy spokesman for the CSU regional group. From October 1998 he was deputy chairman of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group for the areas of Europe, agriculture and the environment. Dispute over the disapproved by him health premium in the statutory health insurance meant that he resigned on 22 November 2004 as Group Vice Chairman. However, he remained one of the deputy CSU chairmen and retained his mandate as a member of the German Bundestag . Seehofer has always entered the Bundestag as a directly elected member of the Ingolstadt constituency . In the 2005 Bundestag election he received 65.9% of the first votes ; this was the second best result nationwide.

After his election as prime minister, Seehofer resigned his parliamentary mandate with effect from November 4, 2008.

Offices in federal ministries and government (1989 to 2008)

When he was appointed State Secretary (1989)

From 1989 to 1992 Seehofer was Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Minister for Labor and Social Affairs .

Horst Seehofer as Federal Minister of Health at the time (1992)

On 6 May 1992 he was appointed as Minister of Health in the by Chancellor Helmut Kohl led Federal Government ( Cabinet Kohl IV appointed). In 1993 there was criticism of Seehofer for the lack of information policy on the problem of HIV-contaminated blood preparations . In this context, Seehofer initiated the dissolution of the Federal Health Office in 1993/94 . As health minister, Seehofer fought against increases in health care costs and the deficit of statutory health insurance throughout his term in office  . The Health Structure Act , which came into force on January 1, 1993, forced the health system to cut costs and, after just one year, led to a cost reduction of around 5.5 billion euros. The Contribution Relief Act (1996) and the Statutory Health Insurance Reorganization Acts (1997) were further reform initiatives by Seehofer.

After the federal election in 1998 there was a change of government ( Schröder I cabinet ); the term of office of the Kohl V cabinet ended on October 26, 1998. In January 2002 Seehofer fell seriously ill and was admitted to a hospital in Ingolstadt because of life-threatening myocarditis . Seehofer later stated that he had been treated too late due to his workload. In the grand coalition that was formed after the 2005 federal election , Seehofer became Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection . On November 22, 2005, he was appointed to the federal government led by Chancellor Angela Merkel .

He gave up his office as Federal Minister on October 27, 2008 in order to be able to be elected as Bavarian Prime Minister.

Bavarian Prime Minister (2008 to 2018)

Prime Minister Seehofer in Markt Schwaben (2009)

After the poor performance of the CSU in the state elections in Bavaria in 2008 - the CSU missed an absolute majority for the first time in over four decades - and the subsequent withdrawal of the previous Prime Minister Günther Beckstein , Seehofer was also nominated for this office by the party. He was able to prevail within the party against Georg Schmid , Thomas Goppel and Joachim Herrmann . Large parts of the CSU have called for Seehofer to once again put party chairmanship and prime ministerial office in one hand.

On October 27, 2008, Seehofer was elected Prime Minister of the Free State of Bavaria by the Bavarian State Parliament. Of the 184 MPs present, 104 voted for him, four votes less than the coalition parties CSU and FDP united.

From November 1, 2011 to November 1, 2012, Seehofer was the President of the Federal Council as scheduled . As such, on February 17, 2012, after Christian Wulff's resignation , until the election of the new Federal President Joachim Gauck on March 18, 2012, he took over the official duties of the German head of state.

At the beginning of May 2013, Seehofer was elected the CSU's top candidate for the Bavarian state election on September 15, 2013, in which the CSU regained an absolute majority in the state parliament. Seehofer was not a member of the state parliament in his first term as Prime Minister, but won the direct mandate in the 2013 state election in the newly created constituency of Neuburg-Schrobenhausen with 61.5% of the first votes cast. On October 8, 2013, he was re-elected Prime Minister by 100 of the 176 members of the state parliament.

After the 2013 federal election , Seehofer played a key role in drawing up the coalition agreement for the 18th Bundestag to form a grand coalition .

Horst Seehofer with Markus Söder (2015)

Seehofer said in 2015 that he no longer wanted to run for prime minister in the state election in Bavaria in 2018 . In October 2016 he announced that he would give up one of his two offices (party chairman and prime minister) in 2017 so that the party chairman could then work again in the federal government in Berlin. After the 2017 federal election, Seehofer came under considerable internal party pressure in the CSU. On December 4, 2017, he announced that he would resign from the office of Prime Minister at the beginning of the following year. The CSU parliamentary group elected Markus Söder as the designated successor. Seehofer resigned as Prime Minister on March 13, 2018. Since December 13, 2017, he had been the longest-serving Prime Minister in Germany.

He resigned his state parliament mandate on May 1, 2018, after he had entered the federal government as a minister.

CSU Chairman (2008 to 2019)

Horst Seehofer on the last day as CSU chairman on January 19, 2019

After Huber's resignation as a result of the unexpectedly poor performance of the CSU in the 2008 state elections , Seehofer was elected CSU chairman on October 25, 2008 at a special party conference with 90.3% of the votes. In the renewed candidacy for party chairmanship on July 18, 2009, Seehofer received 88.1% of the vote. On October 8, 2011, he was re-confirmed as party leader with 89.9% of the vote. Seehofer achieved his best result at the party congress in November 2013 (95.3%). Two years later he received 87.2%, when it was last confirmed in December 2017 at the party congress in Nuremberg, 83.7%. On November 16, 2018, Seehofer announced in a written declaration that he would give up the party leadership on January 19, 2019 and that a special party conference would decide on his successor on the same day. At this, Markus Söder was elected as the new party chairman.

Federal Minister of the Interior, Building and Home Affairs (since 2018)

Olaf Scholz (l.), Angela Merkel (m.) And Horst Seehofer (r.) At the signing of the coalition agreement (2018)

For the Merkel IV cabinet , Horst Seehofer was appointed the new Federal Minister of the Interior, Building and Home Affairs on March 14, 2018.

His relationship with Merkel is characterized by admiration and dislike ; In the interplay of Merkel's leadership style of taking small steps with a great willingness to compromise , the public at times perceived this as a government crisis. He was under considerable pressure with calls to resign in November 2018.

Senior Federal Minister

With over 11 years in office, Horst Seehofer is the longest serving federal minister in the current federal government (as of March 2020).

Further commitment

From April 23, 2005 to November 22, 2005 he was chairman of the social association VdK Bavaria and was able to gain 20,000 new members. With his appointment as Federal Minister for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture, Seehofer had to resign. The Federal Ministerial Law does not allow such a dual function.

Until October 27, 2008, Seehofer was a member of the Board of Directors of Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank .

As a representative of the federal states, Seehofer has been a member of the ZDF administrative board since October 28, 2010 .

Political positions, controversies and criticism

Social policy

Horst Seehofer at the signing of the coalition agreement for the 18th parliamentary term of the Bundestag (2013).

For many years, Seehofer was considered an important social politician in the Union parliamentary group . In 2004, he clearly opposed the views of the party majority and came out as a sharp critic of the Union's compromise on health presented by the CDU and CSU. Some then accused him of adhering to a kind of redistribution policy , which in parts corresponds more to a social democratic line. As an association official in the social association VdK , he was clearly against the Union line in some aspects of social policy. Seehofer rejected the Hartz IV reform as ineffective in March 2005 (six months before the 2005 federal election ) .

Refugee and Integration Debate


In the integration debate in 2010, Seehofer spoke out against immigration from outside the EU as long as all possibilities for recruiting skilled workers from the European Union were not used. First an attempt must be made to employ the unemployed here again. A forecast shortage of skilled workers could "not be a license for uncontrolled immigration." The foreigners already in the country should be "qualified and integrated". According to Seehofer, Germany cannot be the “social welfare office” for the whole world. On the political Ash Wednesday of the CSU in March 2011, he said that he wanted to defend himself against immigration into German social systems “to the last bullet”.

In December 2013, Seehofer defended a proposal by the Berlin federal group of the CSU to restrict social benefits for certain groups of immigrants under the motto "If you cheat, you fly".

During the refugee crisis , Seehofer asked Angela Merkel in September 2015 to send a signal to limit immigration. The reception possibilities for refugees are limited. Since the turn of the year 2015/16 he has been persistently calling for an "upper limit" of 200,000 people, which the Chancellor also persistently rejected ("There is no upper limit"). Seehofer thanked Federal President Joachim Gauck , who had already addressed the limited reception capacity. In response to Merkel's decision in September 2015 to allow refugees from Hungary to travel to Germany, Seehofer declared: “That was a mistake that will keep us busy for a long time. I don't see any way to get the stopper back on the bottle. "

As Federal Minister of the Interior, Seehofer sparked a debate as soon as he took office with the statement made in an interview with the Bild newspaper that “Islam does not belong to Germany”. He justified his statement with the historical shaping of Germany by Christianity , but at the same time emphasized that the Muslims living in Germany naturally belonged to Germany and announced that he would again convene a conference on Islam . “Muslims have to live with us, not next to or against us. To do that, we need mutual understanding and consideration. You can only achieve that if you talk to each other, ”said the Interior Minister. Seehofer's statements met with opposition from both opposition politicians and within the CDU, argued Chancellor Angela Merkel , with the Muslims living in Germany also belonging to Germany. The later CDU chairwoman Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer agreed with this assessment and referred to the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion . The Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder confirmed Seehofer's statements that Islam does not belong to Germany in terms of cultural history. Seehofer also received support from some CDU and SPD politicians. The Brandenburg Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke told the rbb : "I think it is clear to everyone that political Islam cannot be a dominant culture in Germany." What Seehofer meant above all was that refugees could not expect locals to meet adapted to their behavior. "And to clarify this, I am very grateful to the Federal Minister of the Interior." MEP Kerstin Kircheis commented similarly, assuming that Seehofer wanted to address political Islam with his sentence , which generally does not belong to Germany. For a long time there had been peaceful coexistence between the religions, but this has since changed. In this regard, she referred to the repeated clashes in Cottbus . Seehofer continued to propose the establishment of central reception centers - so-called anchor centers - by autumn 2018 , in which asylum seekers should be housed after their arrival until their application has been decided.

Seehofer originally planned to present his 63-point migration master plan for the future asylum policy of the German federal government on June 12, 2018 . Instead, a dispute arose between the CDU and the CSU, in which the CSU threatened to go it alone to close the borders if the EU summit on June 28th and 29th failed to reach bilateral agreements with EU partners . In this case, Chancellor Merkel referred to her authority to issue guidelines .

At the beginning of July 2018, Seehofer surprisingly announced during a meeting of the extended CSU party leadership that he would give up the party chairmanship and his ministerial office in Berlin. However, he later stated that his political future would depend on the CDU's relenting in the asylum dispute. He finally presented his master plan four weeks late in July.

At the beginning of September 2018, after the riots in Chemnitz , Seehofer said that the migration issue was “the mother of all political problems in our country”. The German scholar Heinrich Detering criticized the sentence saying that there would be no more political problems if the “migration question” did not exist. This singular also suggests "that there is only one answer". Seehofer did not use a sentence like “Migrants out!”, That was “left to the chants on the street”.

Asylum and persons obliged to leave the country

At a press conference to present the plan mentioned, he referred to a collective deportation to Afghanistan when asked about enforcement deficits in the practice of deportations :

“On my 69th birthday, of all things, 69 people were returned to Afghanistan - that was not what I ordered. That is far above what has been common up to now. "

- Horst Seehofer

With this collective deportation, the policy for the first time deviated from deporting only criminals and those at risk. As Die Zeit reported, Seehofer's remarks “immediately triggered a storm of indignation. This became even more intense a day later when it became known that one of the 69 men had hanged himself in Kabul . ”In this context, calls for his resignation were raised, which Seehofer rejected. Seehofer regretted the asylum seeker's suicide, which he only found out at a later point in time. He went on to explain that although the federal government organized the deportations, the selection of those to be deported was not made by the Federal Ministry of the Interior but by the federal states, and expressly contradicted allegations that they had given themselves a “birthday present”. The person in question was an asylum seeker who had lived in Hamburg for eight years, whose asylum application had been legally rejected and who had been convicted in Germany for attempted dangerous bodily harm , theft and possession of drugs, among other things . Further criminal charges for robbery , theft, dangerous bodily harm and drug possession were pending in Germany.

Seehofer campaigned several times for tightening the asylum laws . In November 2018, the Bundestag approved Seehofer's draft law to oblige recognized asylum seekers to participate in revocation and withdrawal procedures in the future . This enabled the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to use administrative coercion to stop those affected from fulfilling their obligations to cooperate. According to Seehofer, it is "not to be explained to anyone" that a review of the need for protection would come to nothing because the person concerned does not have to appear at the Bamf at a fixed date. In December of the same year, Seehofer proposed a package of measures aimed at accelerating the deportation of foreign nationals who were obliged to leave the country and who had committed criminal offenses. For this purpose, an expansion of detention and exit detention as well as the introduction of an “extended preparatory detention ” were planned, which should be used for persons who “circumvent or obstruct” the deportation procedure, for example if their identity is refused or incorrectly stated. Seehofer's plans were largely commented on with skepticism. The SPD MP Burkhard Lischka stated that the planned accommodation of detainees awaiting deportation in normal prisons is not legally possible, and Federal Justice Minister Katarina Barley refused to abolish the separation between detention and detention. Separate accommodation was prescribed by the European Court of Justice in 2014 . The CDU internal politician Armin Schuster supported the move on the grounds that it was "more sensible to use the existing capacities first than to build new institutions." Due to the closure of such facilities, these are no longer available in countries like Berlin and Brandenburg, nationwide, there are only 420 deportation detention places available. In fact, every third deportation did not take place because the target person could not be found. The North Rhine-Westphalian Integration Minister Joachim Stamp confirmed both the need to create new deportation detention places and the contradiction of the existing plans to the case law of the ECJ, but considered special regulations for particularly dangerous people and for a certain time frame to be conceivable. Seehofer continued to rule out deportations to Syria due to the security situation there.

Half a year after Seehofer took over the office of Minister of the Interior, Der Spiegel wrote: "Never before has a Minister of the Interior got off to such a disastrous start".


Seehofer is a proponent of the introduction of referendums at federal level, also for big questions such as a change in the Basic Law or European policy. He has no understanding of how one can doubt this instrument, since it would create trust in the population by offering to help shape it. It is fatal to give the impression that the citizens are interfering with government. He is particularly annoyed when the alleged underage citizens are argued after voting.

power supply

Nuclear power

Seehofer stated in July 2010 that he was in favor of an unlimited extension of the service life of the 17 German nuclear power plants . Only the safety of the individual nuclear reactor should be the guideline for future operating times. He expressly rejected additional charges for electricity companies.

After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, Seehofer followed the Union’s new line and advocated the immediate shutdown of the oldest nuclear power plants and the fastest possible phase-out of nuclear energy . As a result, Bavaria's oldest nuclear power plant, Isar 1, was revoked in the summer of 2011, along with seven others in other federal states.

Renewable energy

At the beginning of June 2013, Seehofer met the representatives of Lower Franconian citizens' initiatives against wind power on the initiative of Interior Secretary Gerhard Eck (CSU). According to media reports, their fears that the landscape would be “spoiled” by the expansion of wind energy led to a political initiative by Seehofer. He declared: "I am not ready to go down in history as the Bavarian Prime Minister who was responsible for the destruction of the landscape of our beautiful homeland."

In mid-June 2013, the Bavarian Cabinet agreed on urging Seehofer to a Federal initiative to wind energy . This provides for the definition of the minimum distance between housing estates and wind turbines to be released for the individual federal states in the future through an amendment to the Federal Building Act. Seehofer intends to increase this minimum distance significantly in order to accommodate opponents of wind power who fear that the landscape will be destroyed by wind power plants. While Seehofer's violation was received very differently within the party, it met with a strong rejection from the wind power industry, experts and environmental associations. In particular, the effects on the future expansion of wind energy and the alleged risk of an increase in the price of electricity resulting from the proposal were mentioned.

As Prime Minister, he put the 10H rule into force in Bavaria in 2014 , which states that a minimum distance of ten times its height from residential buildings or built-up areas must be observed when building wind turbines. Until then, so his party criticized, neither citizens nor municipalities had a say due to the unlimited privileges. After the Greens and the SPD appealed to the Constitutional Court about this, the latter decided that the 10H rule was legal.

Power lines

Seehofer rejected the planned construction of two power lines in Bavaria, although he had given his approval to these projects in advance. The two power lines are intended to bring wind power from the North and Baltic Seas to the heavily industrialized south of Germany. After long negotiations, Seehofer was unable to prevent their construction, but was able to ensure that the lines are laid completely underground.

Foreign policy

As the first Bavarian Prime Minister, Seehofer officially visited the Czech Republic in December 2010 . Relations had been strained since the Sudeten Germans were expelled after World War II. Bavaria then accepted the majority of the Sudeten Germans. The Free State and the CSU therefore see themselves as their representatives.

On December 4, 2014, the Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer opened the representation of the Free State of Bavaria in the Czech Republic in the presence of the Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka . In his speech, Seehofer praised the establishment of a Bavarian representative office in the Czech Republic as a symbol of the friendship that has grown between Bavaria and the Czech Republic and of a common Europe. The Bavarian representative office should be a place for dialogue, friendship and togetherness.

During his visit to Israel, he said that Germany was on Israel's side, but that a military attack on Iran was rejected.

When US President Barack Obama ordered a military operation in the civil war in Syria , Seehofer showed understanding. However, he ruled out the participation of German soldiers.

In 2013, Seehofer suggested halving the number of EU commissioners , as they would develop “ridiculous activities”.

Seehofer maintains good relations with Hungary, so he met several times with the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán . The opposition criticized this, among other things, because of Orbán's refugee policy.

Network policy

In the network policy debate about data retention and internet blocking, Seehofer spoke out against the blocking, but in favor of data retention. Internet blocks are not a suitable way to combat child pornography. According to Seehofer, the clarification of the most serious crimes is z. Sometimes only possible with the help of telecommunication data stored in reserve. In order to protect the security of the population, data retention is important.

Seehofer caused a dispute in the Union in 2013 when he changed his mind about data retention. He “discovered data protection and civil rights for his party as a focus” and praised the Federal Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger .

AIDS sufferers

As a member of the Bundestag, Seehofer came under fire when he tried to apply the Federal Disease Act to AIDS sufferers in 1987 . He called for the infected "to be concentrated in special homes". He justified this with the fact that the care of AIDS patients in expensive hospitals could not be financed in the long term. The law drafted by Peter Gauweiler in this context was generally viewed as inadequate, so that the Bavarian Federal Council initiative met with opposition from all the other ten federal states and was rejected by an overwhelming majority. In 2012 he described this attitude as outdated in the meantime.

Transport policy

In contrast to the CDU, Seehofer is in favor of a car toll . When it is introduced, only foreign drivers should be charged. For domestic vehicles , for example, the toll should be offset against the vehicle tax. The proceeds will be used for road construction. The ADAC clearly criticizes Seehofer's attitude. The European Union brought an action against this before the European Court of Justice in 2016 .


honors and awards

See also

Web links

Commons : Horst Seehofer  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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  41. ^ The members of the ZDF Board of Directors
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