Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl Passes Away

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Berlin: Helmut Kohl, the father of reunification, who served as German chancellor from 1982 to 1998, passed away at the age of 87 on Friday.

Kohl remained Chancellor of Germany for the longest period in the history of the country. Kohl is also considered to be the architect of the Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union. Former U.S. president George Bush Senior once described him as the most important European leader of the late 20th century.

Kohl was the chancellor of then West Germany between 1982 and 1990 and the reunified Germany between 1990 and 1998. Kohl’s family was conservative and Roman Catholic and remained loyal to the Catholic Centre Party before and after 1933.

As leader of the Christian Democratic Union Party, his 16 year tenure was the longest of any German Chancellor since Otto von Bismarck. Kohl left active politics in 2002 and since 2008 he has suffered from impaired speech and uses a wheelchair.

Angela Merkel is viewed as Kohl’s former protege, with him referring to her as his Madchen or girl. But their relationship disintegrated after Kohl was forced to resign as head of the CDU when it was revealed he had received cash payments from unknown donors, the Guardian reported.