Gerhard Schröder

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Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder ([ˈɡɛɐ̯haɐ̯t fʁɪts kʊɐ̯t ˈʃʁøːdɐ]  ( listen); 7 April 1944) is a German politician, and was Chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), he led a coalition government of the SPD and the Greens. Before becoming a full-time politician, he was a lawyer, and before becoming Chancellor he served as Prime Minister of Lower Saxony (1990–1998). Following the 2005 federal election, which his party lost, after three weeks of negotiations he stood down as Chancellor in favour of Angela Merkel of the rival Christian Democratic Union. He is currently the chairman of the board of Nord Stream AG.

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Early career

Schröder was born in Mossenberg, today an outlying centre of Blomberg, in what is now North Rhine-Westphalia. His father Fritz Schröder, a lance corporal in the Wehrmacht, was killed during World War II in action in Romania on 4 October 1944, a few months after Gerhard's birth. His mother Erika worked as an agricultural laborer in order to support herself and her two sons.

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