Markus Söder (born 5 January 1967 in Nuremberg) is a German
politician and party member of the Christian Social Union (CSU). He
has been the Minister President of
Bavaria since March 2018.
1 Political career
1.1 Career in Bavarian politics
1.2 State Minister of Finance, 2011–2018
1.3 Minister-President of Bavaria, 2018–present
1.4 Role in national politics
2 Other activities (selection)
2.1 Corporate boards
2.2 Non-profit organizations
3 Political positions
3.1 European integration
3.2 Domestic policy
4 Personal life
5 External links
Career in Bavarian politics
Söder has been a member of the Landtag, the state parliament of
Bavaria, since 1994. From 2003 to 2007 he was Secretary General of the
CSU party; in this capacity, he worked closely with then
Minister-President and party chairman Edmund Stoiber.
Söder has since been member of the Beckstein, Seehofer I and II
cabinets. From 2007 to 2008 he was State Minister for Federal and
European Affairs in
Bavaria and from 2008 to 2011 State Minister for
Environment and Health.
State Minister of Finance, 2011–2018
As finance minister in the state government of Minister-President
Horst Seehofer, Söder was also one of the state’s representatives
at the Bundesrat, where he served on the Finance Committee.
During his time in office, Söder was put in charge of overseeing the
restructuring process of ailing state-backed lender
BayernLB in a bid
to win approval for an aid package from the European Commission. In
2014, he pushed
BayernLB to sell its Hungarian MKB unit to that
country's government, ending an ill-fated investment that had cost it
a total of 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in losses over 20 years.
In 2015, Söder and his Austrian counterpart Hans Jörg Schelling
agreed a provisional deal that settled the two governments’ array of
legal disputes stemming from the collapse of the Carinthian regional
bank Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International. Under the memorandum of
understanding, Austria would pay €1.23 billion to Bavaria. All legal
cases relating to the dispute would also be dropped.
Also in 2012, Söder and Minister-President
Horst Seehofer filed a
lawsuit in the Federal Constitutional Court, asking the judges to back
their call for an overhaul of the German system of financial transfers
from wealthier states (such as Bavaria) to the country's weaker
economies. On Söder’s initiative,
Bavaria became the first
regional government in Volkswagen's home country to take legal action
against the carmaker for damages caused by its emissions-test cheating
scandal. At the time, Söder argued that the state’s pension fund
for civil servants had lost as much as 700,000 euros ($780,000) as a
consequence of the scandal.
When Seehofer came under pressure after the CSU had suffered heavy
losses in the 2017 national elections, he decided to remain party
chairman but agreed to hand over leadership of
Bavaria to Söder.
Minister-President of Bavaria, 2018–present
In March 2018, lawmakers formally elected Söder as new
Minister-President to replace Horst Seehofer, who had become German
interior minister in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new cabinet. He he
received 99 of the 169 state deputies’ votes, with 64 voting against
— a better result than Seehofer when he began his final term in
Role in national politics
Söder was a CSU delegate to the Federal Convention for the purpose of
electing the President of
Germany in 1999, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2012 and
In the negotiations to form a coalition government of the Christian
Democrats (CDU together with the Bavarian CSU) and the Free Democratic
Party (FDP) following the 2009 federal elections, Söder was part of
the CDU/CSU delegation in the working group on health policy, led by
Ursula von der Leyen
Ursula von der Leyen and Philipp Rösler.
In the negotiations to form a Grand Coalition of the Christian
Democrats and the Social Democrats (SPD) following the 2013 federal
elections, Söder was part of the CDU/CSU delegation in the working
groups on financial policy and the national budget, led by Wolfgang
Schäuble and Olaf Scholz, and on bank regulation and the Eurozone,
Herbert Reul and Martin Schulz.
Other activities (selection)
KfW, Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Supervisory Directors (since
Munich Airport, Ex-Officio Chairman of the Supervisory Board
Nuremberg Airport, Ex-Officio Member of the Supervisory Board,
Chairman of the Supervisory Board (since 2017)
BayernLB, Ex-Officio Chairman of the Supervisory Board (211-2012)
ZDF, Ex-Officio Member of the Television Board (2002-2008, 2013-2016)
Bavarian Research Foundation, Ex-Officio Member of the Board of
Deutsches Museum, Member of the Board of Trustees
University of Erlangen-
Nuremberg (FAU), Member of the Board of
Staatstheater Nürnberg, Member of the Board of Trustees
Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Member of the Board of Trustees
1. FC Nürnberg, Member of the Supervisory Board (2007-2011), Member
of the Advisory Board (since 2011)
Munich International Film Festival, Ex-Officio Member of the
Supervisory Board (2011-2014)
During the Greek government-debt crisis, Söder was among the most
vocal in calling for
Greece to leave the Eurozone. By 2012, he
said in an interview: "Athens must stand as an example that this
Eurozone can also show teeth."
In early 2018, Söder reiterated his opposition against any expansion
of the eurozone to include countries like
Bulgaria and Romania; the
introduction of Eurobonds; and the creation of a European finance
In 2012, under Söder’s leadership,
Bavaria pledged €500,000
($687,546) in public funding for the Munich-based Institute for
Contemporary History (IfZ) to produce a critical, annotated version of
Mein Kampf for publication in 2015 when the copyright
expired. Söder said at the time that the publication would aim to
"demystify" Hilter's manifesto. By 2013, however, the Bavarian state
government ended its funding for the project.
Throughout the European migrant crisis, Söder has sharply criticized
the migrant policies of
Angela Merkel several times. He warned of a
"huge security gap" that remained, because the whereabouts of hundred
thousands of migrants was still unclear and he strongly doubted that
the integration of so many people could succeed. In Söder's view, the
Germans didn't want a multicultural society. Refugees should return to
their home countries whenever possible. The dictum "Wir schaffen das"
("We make it") of Chancellor Merkel was "not the right signal",
instead he suggested "Wir haben verstanden" ("We have
Söder has been married to Karin Baumüller since 1999. The couple
have three children. In addition, Söder has a daughter from an
Baumüller is one of the owners of Nuremberg-based Baumüller Group, a
leading manufacturer of electric automation and drive systems.
Markus Söder at the Landtag of Bavaria
^ Christian Kraemer, Arno Schuetze and Foo Yun Chee (March 28, 2012),
BayernLB agree on revamp Reuters.
^ Jörn Poltz and Krisztina Than (July 24, 2014),
BayernLB sells unit
MKB to Hungary Reuters.
^ James Shotter (July 7, 2015), Austria to pay
Bavaria €1.23bn to
settle Hypo Alpe Adria dispute Financial Times.
^ Christian Kraemer (July 17, 2012),
Bavaria seeks to trump Merkel
with anti-bailout card Reuters.
^ Joern Poltz and Andreas Cremer (August 2, 2016), German state of
Bavaria to sue VW over emissions scandal Reuters.
^ Janosch Delcker (December 16, 2017),
Horst Seehofer reelected leader
of Merkel’s Bavarian allies Politico Europe.
^ Maxime Schlee (March 16, 2018),
Markus Söder becomes Bavarian state
premier Politico Europe.
^ Matthias Sobolewski (October 30, 2013), German-Swiss tax deal could
be revived, conservatives say Reuters.
^ 2011 Annual Report KfW.
^ Söder neuer Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender des Flughafens Nürnberg
Nuremberg Airport, press release of March 31, 2017.
^ Board of Trustees Deutsches Museum.
^ Michelle Martin (July 29, 2015), Merkel's Bavarian ally says Grexit
would cause 'utter chaos' Reuters.
^ James Angelos (December 7, 2012), Greece's Samaras Aims to Win Over
Bavarians Wall Street Journal.
^ Andrea Shalal (February 14, 2018),
Bavaria Fin Minister rejects
eurozone expansion to Romania,
^ Harriet Torry (December 12, 2013),
Bavaria Ends Funding for
Scholarly Edition of 'Mein Kampf' Wall Street Journal.
^ Flüchtlinge sind "riesige Sicherheitslücke in Deutschland", Die
Welt, 26 August 2016, in German
^ Franz Solms-Laubach (May 24, 2007),
Markus Söder und seine
uneheliche Tochter Die Welt.
^ Claudia Urbasek (January 23, 2016), Profitiert Söders Familie von
der Flüchtlingskrise? Nürnberger Zeitung.
Current heads of government of the States of Germany
Winfried Kretschmann (Baden-Württemberg)
Markus Söder (Bavaria)
Michael Müller (Berlin)
Dietmar Woidke (Brandenburg)
Carsten Sieling (Bremen)
Katharina Fegebank (Hamburg)
Volker Bouffier (Hesse)
Stephan Weil (Lower Saxony)
Manuela Schwesig (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)
Armin Laschet (North Rhine-Westphalia)
Malu Dreyer (Rhineland-Palatinate)
Tobias Hans (Saarland)
Michael Kretschmer (Saxony)
Reiner Haseloff (Saxony-Anhalt)
Daniel Günther (Schleswig-Holstein)
Bodo Ramelow (Thuringia)
General Secretaries of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria
Franz Josef Strauss
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg
Ministers-President of the Free State of Bavaria
Revolutionary period (1918–19)
Martin Segitz (acting)
Weimar period (1919–33)
Gustav Ritter von Kahr
Graf von Lerchenfeld-Köfering
Eugen von Knilling
Nazi period (1933–45)
Bavaria (since 1945)
Franz Josef Strauss