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Klaus Wowereit (born October 1, 1953) is a German politician, member of the SPD (Social Democratic Party), and was the Governing Mayor of Berlin from October 21, 2001 to December 11, 2014. In 2001 state elections his party won a plurality of the votes, 29.7%. He served as President of the Bundesrat (the fourth highest office in Germany) in 2001/02. His SPD-led coalition was re-elected in the 2006 elections; after the 2011 elections the SPD's coalition partner changed from the Left to the Christian Democratic Union. He was also sometimes mentioned as a possible SPD candidate for the Chancellorship of Germany (Kanzlerkandidatur) in the next German federal election, but that never materialized.
Wowereit was born in West Berlin. Until 1973, Wowereit attended the Ulrich-von-Hutten-Oberschule in Berlin-Lichtenrade. Afterwards, he studied law at the Free University Berlin (State Exams, 1981 and 1984).
Wowereit is youngest to two brothers and two sisters and grew up without a father. One of his brothers supported his studies and later he took care of his brother, who was paralyzed after an accident, as well as his mother, who was suffering from cancer.
Wowereit is one of the most famous German politicians who is openly gay. In coming out, prior to the 2001 mayoral elections, he coined the now famous German phrase "Ich bin schwul, und das ist auch gut so." ("I'm gay, and that's that.") In his autobiography, Wowereit states that his decision to come out in public was made because after his nomination as candidate to become the Mayor of Berlin, he felt that the German tabloids were already "on the right track". With his coming out, Wowereit wanted to beat the tabloids to it and prevent them from writing wild, sensational and fabricated stories about his private life. Wowereit said those now famous words during a convention of the Berlin SPD. After the end of his speech, there was half a second of surprised silence, then spontaneous cheering and loud applause to support him.
In a 2010 interview with Time Magazine, he said that coming out may actually have strengthened his campaign.
His election as mayor made Berlin one of three major European cities with an openly gay mayor, along with Paris, whose mayor was Bertrand Delanoë, and Hamburg, whose mayor was Ole von Beust at that time, who both also took office in 2001. However, von Beust resigned in 2010 and Delanoë left office in 2014, making Wowereit the only gay mayor of a major European and German city. Berlin being the largest and Hamburg being the second largest city in Germany, they are also German states in their own right, having made both Wowereit and von Beust also state premiers.
In September 2007, Wowereit published an autobiographical book titled "…und das ist auch gut so.", after his famous coming-out phrase.
Wowereit's civil partner, Jörn Kubicki, is a neurosurgeon. They have been in a relationship since 1993.