Guido Westerwelle, 47, leader of Germany’s pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), and his lover/partner Michael Mronz, 42, are being celebrated as Germany’s latest “power couple,” by the German media, now that voters have awarded Chancellor Angela Merkel a resounding victory for a second term in Sunday’s election. The vote gave her a mandate to form a new government with leaders of the FDP, who are expected to cut taxes to boost growth and invigorate the country.
Westerwelle, the 47-year-old openly gay head of the liberal FDP since 2001, will now sit down with Chancellor Angela Merkel and discuss terms for a new ruling coalition. It is widely expected that one of those terms will be Mr Westerwelle's promotion as the first out LGBT foreign minister (and vice chancellor).
Mr Westerwelle delivered his party’s best performance since the creation of the Federal Republic 60 years ago. “We accept the trust citizens have given us and we will handle it responsibly,” he said to a cheering crowd election night.
Archival photo of Guido Westerwelle and Michael Mronz running on December 3, 2005 at the 1st Nikolauf in Bonn
Income tax cuts remain a chief policy platform but Mr. Westerwelle has tried to move the party away from its reputation as a club for big-earners. A trained lawyer respected for his debating skills, he notes his market-friendly party has always been committed to cutting taxes, welfare payments, and the size of government. He also promises to remove US nuclear warheads stationed on German soil and bring home German troupes fighting in Afghanistan. In addition his party has promised to reverse Germany's rollback of nuclear power and remains committed against punitive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Guido Westerwelle (left) and Michael Mronz on election night at FDP headquarters celebrating their big win. 9-27-09 photo
“We have reached our election goal of a stable majority for a new government,” a beaming Mrs. Merkel said to a cheering crowd at her party’s headquarters in Berlin Sunday, before adding that she wanted to be “chancellor for all Germans.” Leading a government made up of her Christian Democrats and the pro-business Free Democrats, Mrs. Merkel will finally have the chance to enact the kind of liberalizing economic plans she proposed when she first ran for chancellor four years ago. She can push ahead on issues like tax relief, a simplification of the tax code, and a possible extension of the time that nuclear power plants can continue to operate.
Always the socialites, Guido Westerwelle (L) and his lover Michael Mronz arrive for the Tristan and Isolde premiere of the Richard Wagner festival in Bayreuth, Germany. July 25, 2009 photo
But most importantly, social change in once-traditional Germany, has descended upon the country like a sonic boom. Mrs. Merkel, the country’s first female chancellor, is expected to name Guido Westerwelle as the first openly gay vice chancellor and foreign minister, something she can easily do after he shepherded his Free Democrats to their strongest showing ever in Sunday’s election, after eleven successful years in government.
German politician Guido Westerwelle and his significant other Michael Mronz waving to supporters at the premiere of the Bayreuth Festival 2009. 7-25-09 photo showing the "Gay and Proud" logo
Guido Westerwelle and his life partner have been branded Germany’s new "power couple”—by the nation’s leading daily, Bild.de, which splashed a photo of the pair hugging on election night on the front-page above the fold in Tuesday’s paper, noting that they “shine” together.
The ringing endorsement for the 47-year-old Westerwelle in the Bild daily actually celebrated his personal life. “His man makes him so strong,” they said matter-of-factly. Bild declared that Westerwelle’s 42-year-old partner Michael Mronz was not only his most important adviser during the campaign, but also “gives him security and . . . supports him when he suffers a setback.”
Guido Westerwelle (C), FDP head, reacts after he was re-elected party leader while his husband Michael Mronz (L) smiles at FDP congress in Hannover, Germany, earlier this year. 5-15-09 photo
Despite eight years as leader of the pro-business Free Democrats, Westerwelle’s homosexuality has generated relatively little discussion. But with his party set to become kingmaker to Chancellor Merkel’s conservatives who plan to crown him foreign minister, the issue has been thrust into the spotlight.
On Monday, a local official had to apologize for an anti-gay remark he made about Westerwelle on election night. Peter Langner, the city treasurer of the western city of Duisburg and a Social Democrat, had said that “I don’t want a gay foreign minister.”
While Westerwelle does not consider himself a gay activist, he has been quoted saying his lifestyle may be encouraging for young homosexuals. “I can only tell all young gays and lesbians to not be disheartened when not everything goes their way,” Westerwelle told the Berlin’s gay magazine Siegessaeule this month. “This society is changing for the good in the direction of tolerance and respect . . . though slower than I would wish.”
Westerwelle, who has led the Free Democrats since 2001, also spoke out for stronger civil rights during the election campaign and in the past has criticized the German law that does not give complete adoption rights to gay couples.
Check out this video “hymn,” highlighting Guido Westerwelle’s political career: “The Guido Westerwelle Hymmne of Extra 3 09 01 2009 xdrei de”:
Guido Westerwelle Hymmne
And watch this video from November 5, 2006, when Guido Westerwelle spoke in English:
Finally, check out this video, with subtitles, which has been all over the news, showing Guido Westerwelle refusing to answer a question from a British reporter because it was in English. Some Germans were embarrassed by the incident. Frankly, my dear, I don’t understand what all the fuss is about!:
Also visit http://www.galechesterwhittington.com/ for free humor, short stories, poems, and book excerpts from the award-winning gay author