Lothar de Maizière


Biography of Lothar de Maizière

Lothar de Maizière (born 2 March 1940) is a German Christian Democratic politician. In 1990, he served as the only democratically elected Prime Minister of the German Democratic Republic, and as such was the last leader of an independent East Germany.

De Maizière was born in Nordhausen, Thuringia, and attended the ancient Berlinisches Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster, where he was one of the last pupils before the school closed in 1958. He next studied viola at the Hanns Eisler College of Music in East Berlin from 1959 to 1965. He played in the Berlin Symphony Orchestra before going on to study law (by distance learning, through the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin from 1969 to 1975.

In March, 1990, in the only free election held in East Germany, Lothar de Maizière was elected to the Volkskammer as a member of the East German Christian Democratic Union. One month later, he succeeded Hans Modrow as Premier and held this position from April 12th until October 2, 1990; on October 3rd, the East German state was reunified with the Federal Republic of Germany (from 1949 to 1990, West Germany). As premier, De Maizière signed the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany (the so-called "2+4 treaty"), which ended the four wartime allied powers' rights and responsibilities in Berlin and Germany, and which preceded German reunification. The treaty provided that it would be signed by the four allies and the two Germanies but ratified only by newly reunified Germany and the allies.

After German reunification, he was appointed Minister for Special Affairs in the CDU government of Helmut Kohl, until his resignation on December 17, 1990 amid rumors that he had worked for the East German Stasi.

De Maizière belongs to a noble family who, as Huguenots, fled France for asylum in Prussia, late in the seventeenth century. He is a son of the lawyer Clement de Maizière. His uncle Ulrich de Maizière was Inspector General of the Bundeswehr (the West German Armed Forces). His cousin Thomas de Maizière is a close advisor to Chancellor Angela Merkel and has been Federal Minister of Defense as of March 3, 2011.

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