Ludolf Franz Ritter von Ostermann
Official portrait of Ludolf Ostermann
|36th Chancellor of Werania|
12 April 1979 – 16 May 1991
|Preceded by||Albrecht Spaemann|
|Succeeded by||Wolfgang Löscher|
|Federal Chairman of the Social Democratic Radical Party of Werania|
18 August 1978 – 16 May 1991
|Preceded by||Post created|
|Succeeded by||Wolfgang Löscher|
|Leader of the Social Democratic Party of Werania|
5 December 1975 – 18 August 1978
|Preceded by||Gustav Pittermann|
|Succeeded by||Post abolished|
|Born||November 14, 1927|
Vöckdorf, Cislania, Werania
|Political party||SPO, SRPO|
|Spouse(s)||Erika Spielmann (1952-1995)|
Veronika Nesselrode (1997-2015)
|Years of service||1945–1950|
|Battles/wars||Nasani War of Unification|
Ludolf Franz Ostermann is a retired Weranian politician who served as Chancellor of Werania form 1979 to 1991. He was also the leader of the Social Democratic Party of Werania (SPO) from 1975 to 1978 and its successor party the Social Democratic Radical Party of Werania (SRPO) from 1978 to 1991. Ostermann also served as in various ministerial roles including Health, Defence and Economy and sat in the Volkstag from 1955 to his retirement from active politics in 2000.
Having fought in colonial wars as a member of Reichwehr, Ostermann in 1955 became a member of the Volkstag. In the government of Rudolf Wiefelspütz he became Minister of Health and in the first government of Gustav Pittermann Minister of Economy. Proving himself to be a popular and innovative minister Ostermann became a leading figure of the party's modernising wing. After the SPO lost power in 1970 Ostermann soon became Pittermann's chief party rival; after Pittermann lost the 1975 election Ostermann ousted him as leader. As SPO leader he pushed for a merger between the SPO and the Radical Party to form the Social Democratic Radical Party of Werania (SRPO) in 1978. Ostermann subsequently led the SPRO to win the 1979 election in a coalition with the Weranic Section of the Workers' International (OSAI) beating the National Consolidation Party.
Being elected on a avowedly socialist programme Ostermann implemented radical economic policies, nationalising key strategic industries and attempting to guide the economy through price and wage controls. These measures did not increase economic growth and saw the government become estranged from the Euclean Community worried about Werania's debt and inflation issues. As such in 1982, a year before the next federal election Ostermann undertook a radical u-turn in economic policy emphasising the privatisation of state-owned enterprise, deregulation of economic sectors especially banking and housing and liberalising labour laws. These policies are considered to have laid the groundwork of late 1980's economic recovery. The policies saw the SPRO lose ground in the 1983 election as the OSAI collapsed as a political force; as a result Ostermann formed a purple government with the Modern Centre Party.
In his second government Ostermann proposed deeper Euclean integration and several pioneering socially liberal policies, decriminalising homosexuality and abortion and promoting more comprehensive women's rights. Ostermann maintained the coalition's majority at the 1987 election but in 1990 saw his popularity collapse as his Minister of the Treasury Wolfgang Löscher resigned due to differences in economic policy. In 1991 he was ousted as Prime Minister by party opponents led by Löscher. Ostermann retired to the Herrstag following the 1991 election retiring from politics in 2000. As Werania's longest serving Chancellor, Ostermann is considered a controversial figure in Weranian politics. His supporters laud his economic reforms as having led to the prosperous Weranian economy of the 1990's and 2000's, that he was a crucial figure in supporting Euclean integration and that he was a pragmatic and shrewd politician being one of the most successful social democratic leaders in history. Ostermann's opponents meanwhile accuse his government of leading to greater inequality and social division, for overseeing the "neoliberalisation" of the left and later in his tenure be willing to turn back on his electoral promises to sponsor the coalition government. The Statesmen newspaper characterised Ostermann as "undisputedly the most important Weranian Prime Minister since the war".
- 1 Early life
- 2 Political career
- 3 Prime Minister
- 4 Post-premiership
- 5 Views
- 6 Controversies
- 7 Personal life
In 1955 Ostermann was placed on the SPO's party list for the election that year. He was elected to the Volkstag being placed 104th on the party list. In his early years as a member of parliament Ostermann was noted for his frequent interventions in debates and general cordial attitude he cultivated with other MP's. He became close to party modernisers such as Rudolf Wiefelspütz, the then party-leader. Ostermann would soon tour the country in working class areas drumming up support for the SPO and talking with local councillors where he promised to sponsor plans for urban development, bolstering his standing amongst the party's grassroots.
In 1963 following the election that year Chancellor Rudolf Wiefelspütz picked Ostermann to become Minister of Health Services, with Ostermann being the youngest member of Wiefelspütz's cabinet. Wiefelspütz regarded Ostermann as future prime minister materiel and a fellow moderniser. Upon becoming Chancellor Wiefelspütz aimed to spearhead a bill to legalise abortion, but the issue was regarded as divisive in the conservative Catholic nation. As Minister for Health Services Ostermann proposed several solutions to deal with "Option A" whilst minimising the political damage of the government.
In March 1972 Ostermann proposed an abortion law that would have made the practice legal for cases of maternal life, mental health, health, rape, fetal defects, and socioeconomic factors within 24 weeks of pregnancy. The proposal - seen as radical at the time - was purposefully amended to make it more limited to remove cases of fetal defects and socioeconomic factors and limited to 12 weeks of the pregnancy. The amendment process enabled the government to marginalise hardline anti-abortion activists and court moderates on the issue onto the government's side. This shrewd strategy led to Ostermann being further praised as an effective moderniser, but his alleged duplicitous nature (being at first strongly supportive of the radical bill before being equally critical of it when promoting the compromise) aroused the suspicion of the left and right wing factions of the party. Wilhelm Reinhardt, the than-Minister of Finance and a right-wing factional leader, called Ostermann "one of the many sycophants around Chancellor Wiefelspütz".
When Wiefelspütz was forced to step down as Chancellor in 1965 by Gustav Pittermann the new Chancellor promoted Ostermann to be Minister of the Economy. As Minister of the Economy - where his portfolio included overseeing government expenditure, financial management, and the operations of government - Ostermann built a tense working relationship with Chancellor Pittermann, who he had not supported for the party leadership. Pittermann unlike Ostermann was seen as a party traditionalist and sceptical of the party modernisers that were quickly rallying around Ostermann as party leader following the retirement of Pittermann.
During the late 1960's the economy suffered from high inflation and unemployment (stagflation) leading to the SPO's liberal allies to question the state centralist policies promoted by Pittermann and instead advocate for a radical social market economy. Ostermann was not amongst this line of thought but soon started to associate with liberals and right-wing members of the SPO that were criticising the Pittermann government for its continued socialist, interventionist economic policy.
As such during his time as Economy Minister Ostermann came to clash with Pittermann over the issue of government spending, with Ostermann calling for a reduction in government expenditure and exercising restraint over public finances. Pittermann overruled Ostermann, stating that the policies would lose the SPO support from trade unions and the electorate. However when the Radical Party voted in favour of ending their confidence agreement with the SPO over Pittermann's economic policies (thereby causing the collapse of the government) Ostermann defended the government for "staying true to socialism" and attacking the Radical Party as the "running dogs of capitalism".
The 1970 election however saw the electorate punish the SPO for failing to revive the economy with the party losing to the NKP. Pittermann remained party leader, but appreciating the increasing influence Ostermann had within the party made him deputy leader. .