Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Otto, Count Lambsdorff dies

Last Saturday December 5th, Honorary President of Liberal International Otto Graf Lambsdorff suddenly and unexpectedly passed away at the age of 82. Largely unknown over here, even in his prime, he was one of the most significant figures in post-war European politics.

The following is taken virtually verbatim from a Liberal International feed.

Current LI president Hans van Baalen described Lambsdorff as one of the most inspiring liberal politicians of the past century and as a courageous statesman who was one of the architects of post War Germany. “He was one of the most open, direct and when necessary bold political fighters for a free market economy and civil liberties, and because of this he earned the name ‘Marktgraf' [Market Count].”

Van Baalen: “Together with Adolfo Suarez, David Steel and Frits Bolkestein, Otto Lambsdorff made Liberal international a more political organisation. His focus was the integration of the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe into the world economy and the international political community. As President of FDP, Liberal International and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty, Otto Lambsdorff taught us, the new political generation, not to indulge in political correctness but to speak out, even if it makes you controversial”.

Otto Graf Lambsdorff was born in Germany in 1926. He studied Law and Political Science at the Universities of Bonn and Cologne. He was admitted to the bar at the local and district courts of Dûsseldorf in 1960.

In 1951 he became a member of the FDP and in 1972 a Member of Parliament (Bundestag). He was Minister of Economics in several cabinets under Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Chancellor Helmut Kohl from 1977 to June 1984, when he resigned as Federal Minister of Economics. From 1984 until 1988 he was the Parliamentary Spokesman on Economic Affairs. He has been leader of the FDP until 1993.

During his years as Minister and as Member of the Parliament he fought for lower corporate taxation and against state subsidies and bureaucracy, and helped deliver the FDP one of its most successful era's of widespread appeal among the German electorate.

1 comment:

Frank Little said...

There is a pair of more critical obituaries in The Independent. Both suggest that Count Lambsdorff was closer politically to Margaret Thatcher than to Paddy Ashdown.