Peter Harry Carstensen
Peter Harry Carstensen is a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 politician, in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.

Since 2005 he has been Minister President of the state of Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig...

, serving as President
President of the German Bundesrat
In Germany, the President of the Bundesrat or President of the Federal Council is the chairperson or speaker of the Bundesrat . The presidency of the Bundesrat rotates among the heads of government of each of the states on an annual basis...

 of the Bundesrat
Bundesrat of Germany
The German Bundesrat is a legislative body that represents the sixteen Länder of Germany at the federal level...

 in 2005/06.

Early life, education and career

Carstensen was born in Elisabeth-Sophien-Koog
Elisabeth-Sophien-Koog is a municipality in the district of Nordfriesland, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It occupies a small part in the northwest of Nordstrand peninsula....

Nordstrand, Germany
Nordstrand is a peninsula and former island in North Frisia on the North Sea coast of Germany. It is part of the Nordfriesland district in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein. Its area is 50 km², and its population is 2,300...

, on the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 coast of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. He passed his Abitur
Abitur is a designation used in Germany, Finland and Estonia for final exams that pupils take at the end of their secondary education, usually after 12 or 13 years of schooling, see also for Germany Abitur after twelve years.The Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife, often referred to as...

 in 1966 and worked in agriculture before beginning a course of study in agronomy in 1968, finishing in 1973 as a qualified engineer. During his studies Carstensen became a member of the Landsmannschaft Troglodytia im Coburger Convent and did not leave the organisation until 1998. In 1976 he passed the Second State Examination (Zweites Staatsexamen) to become a teacher, following which he was employed as a teacher of agriculture at the Bredstedt
Bredstedt is a town in the district of Nordfriesland, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is situated near the North Sea coast, approximately 16 km northwest of Husum....

 Agricultural School and also as an economics adviser in the Agricultural Ministry of Schleswig-Holstein until 1983.


Peter Harry Carstensen is widowed and has two daughters. His younger daughter is the ceramicist Anja-Christina Carstensen. In August 2004 the Bild
The Bild is a German tabloid published by Axel Springer AG. The paper is published from Monday to Saturday, while on Sundays, Bild am Sonntag is published instead, which has a different style and its own editors...

 newspaper hunted for a new wife with Carstensen’s agreement - a decision that he later regretted.

On his 60th birthday, Carstensen publicly announced his new relationship with Sandra Thomsen, a lawyer born in 1971. Two and a half years later — on 31 December 2009 — the two were married in the Friesenstube of the Island Hotel Arfsten in Wrixum.


Carstensen has been a member of the CDU since 1971. From 1986 to 1992 he was leader of the local CDU in the Nordfriesland
Nordfriesland, English "Northern Friesland" or "North Frisia", is a district in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It includes almost all of traditional North Frisia along with adjacent areas to the east and south and is bounded by the districts of Schleswig-Flensburg and Dithmarschen, the North Sea and...

 district becoming leader, on 2 June 2002. Carstensen was the CDU’s top candidate for the 2005 state election, in which Carstensen led the CDU to its best result since Uwe Barschel
Uwe Barschel
Uwe Barschel was a West German politician and from 1982 to 1987 Minister-President in the State of Schleswig-Holstein...

’s resignation in 1987 with 40.2% of all votes cast, making the CDU the strongest party in the state parliament for the first time since 1983. From 1 March to 27 April 2005 Carstensen was leader of the CDU in the state parliament.

Member of Parliament

From 1983 Carstensen was a member of the Bundestag
The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...

. From 1994 to 2002 he was chairman of the committee for Nutrition, Agriculture and Forestry (after the renaming of the corresponding ministry in 2001 the committee became responsible for Consumer Protection, Nutrition and Agriculture). In the current parliamentary term he was a full member of the committee. From October 2002 Carstensen was chairman of the CDU/CSU working party for Consumer Protection, Nutrition and Agriculture in the Bundestag. Peter Harry Carstensen was directly elected MP of electorate 2 (Nordfriesland - Dithmarschen-Nord), receiving 44.3% of all votes cast in the last election. Carstensen left the Bundestag on 20 April 2005.

He has been a member of the state parliament of Schleswig-Holstein since 2005.

Public office

Carstensen was the CDU's candidate for premier of Schleswig-Holstein in the state election of 20 February 2005
Schleswig-Holstein state election, 2005
The Schleswig-Holstein state election, 2005, was conducted on February 20, 2005, to elect members to the Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein.-Issues and Campaign:...

, but the coalition of the CDU and the Free Democratic Party
Free Democratic Party (Germany)
The Free Democratic Party , abbreviated to FDP, is a centre-right classical liberal political party in Germany. It is led by Philipp Rösler and currently serves as the junior coalition partner to the Union in the German federal government...

 (FDP) failed to obtain a majority by some 700 votes. The Social Democrat
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 (SPD) office-holder Heide Simonis
Heide Simonis
Heide Simonis is a German politician. She is a member of the SPD.She was Minister President of Schleswig-Holstein from 1993 to 2005, the first woman to hold this position in any German state in Germany's history.-Life:...

 thus tried to form a minority cabinet of the SPD and Bündnis '90/Die Grünen
Alliance '90/The Greens
Alliance '90/The Greens is a green political party in Germany, formed from the merger of the German Green Party and Alliance 90 in 1993. Its leaders are Claudia Roth and Cem Özdemir...

 (the Green party) tolerated by the Danish minority party SSW
South Schleswig Voter Federation
The South Schleswig Voter Federation is a regional political party in Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany...


In the vote to decide the premier of Schleswig-Holstein in the opening session of the state parliament on 17 March 2005 incumbent Heide Simonis (SPD) did not receive the required majority. Subsequently successful negotiations between the SPD and CDU led to the formation of a grand coalition between SPD and CDU. On 27 April 2005 Carstensen was finally elected premier of the state of Schleswig-Holstein with a majority of 54 votes (out of the grand coalition’s 59).

In July 2009 Carstensen announced that he would seek early state elections as a result of ongoing quarrels within the coalition government. After the Elections of 27 September 2009
Schleswig-Holstein state election, 2009
State elections were held in Schleswig-Holstein on 27 September 2009, the same day as the German federal elections and the Brandenburg state elections...

 Carstensen was reelected on 27 October 2009.

Carstensen has also been President of the Bundesrat, Germany's upper house of parliament.


Carstensen was awarded the Order of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesverdienstkreuz
The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany is the only general state decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has existed since 7 September 1951, and between 3,000 and 5,200 awards are given every year across all classes...

) in 1996.

External links

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