As a candidate for the Union, Dagmar Schipanski lost out in the election of the Federal President in 1999 - but the native of Thuringia nevertheless made a career. She is highly respected as a scientist and politician. Schipanski has now died at the age of 79.
The Thuringian CDU politician and former German presidential candidate Dagmar Schipanski is dead. She died at the age of 79. "We mourn the loss of a convinced Christian Democrat and a great person," said the federal party. Thuringia's CDU parliamentary group leader, Mario Voigt, praised Schipanski as an "excellent scientist and committed politician". Education was a matter close to her heart. As President of the Thuringian State Parliament and Minister, she shaped the state, Voigt wrote.
Born in Thuringia, she already made a career as a scientist in the GDR before she also got involved in politics after reunification. Schipanski studied applied physics in Magdeburg in the 1960s and later worked on basic research into semiconductor components at the Technical University of Ilmenau. Since she refused to join the SED, the highly talented scientist remained in her assistant position for decades, despite her doctorate and habilitation.
Schipanski's career only went up steeply after reunification: in 1990 she received a professorship in Ilmenau, and in 1995 she was appointed Germany's first female rector of a technical university. A year later she created another novelty. She was the first woman to head the Science Council. She held this position for two years.
After her defeat in the federal presidential election in 1999, for which she had been nominated by the CDU and CSU for the highest state office and was clearly defeated by the then SPD candidate Johannes Rau, she devoted herself again to her academic work. In 1999 Schipanski, who was still independent at the time, became Minister for Science, Research and Art in the Thuringian state government. In 2000 she joined the CDU and shortly thereafter also became a member of the CDU executive committee.
After Thuringian Prime Minister Bernhard Vogel resigned in 2003, Schipanski initially remained in the cabinet under his successor Dieter Althaus. In 2004 she left and took over the office of President of the State Parliament, which she held until 2009.