Oskar Lafontaine Net Worth in 2023 Career & Relationship

Estimated value: €22 million
Age: 78
Born: 09/16/1943
Country of origin: Germany
Source of Wealth: Politician
Last updated: 2021

Short introduction

Oskar Lafontaine is a German politician who also works as a publicist. For 13 years he was Prime Minister of the Saarland for the SPD, candidate for chancellor for this party and from 1995 to 1999 chairman of the SPD. Only 142 days after his appointment as Minister of Finance in 1998, he resigned from this office and also gave up the chairmanship of the SPD. He later left the SPD and joined the party “Die Linke”, of which he also became chairman. In Saarland it will still be until the end of 2019.

early life

He was raised as the son of a secretary and a baker, the last of whom died in the war in 1945. Oskar Lafontaine was transferred to a church high school at the age of 9, which he did not like despite good grades. A year earlier he was released from the Catholic seminary because he had been drinking beer with friends in an inn. Nevertheless, he obtained his Abitur in 1962, after which he studied physics in Bonn. In 1965 he moved to Saarbrücken because of an affair, where he married Ingrid Bachert in 1967 and graduated as a physicist in 1969. He then worked for a supply company in Saarbrücken for five years. In 1966 he joined the SPD, where he was to have a long career from then on.


First he became chairman of the Jusos in Saarbrücken, in 1968 he was already a member of the state executive of the SPD Saarland. From 1970 to 1975 he was also a member of the state parliament. From 1974 to 1976 he was mayor of the city of Saarbrücken, then until 1985 mayor. During this time he dedicated himself to the expansion of local public transport compared to private transport. During this time he also gained a reputation as an ecological peace activist. After failing as the top candidate in Saarland in 1980, he won the election in 1985 with an absolute majority in terms of seats. Oskar Lafontaine thus became Saarland’s first Social Democratic prime minister.

In 1990, despite much criticism from the ranks of the SPD for his negative attitude towards reunification, he rose to become the SPD’s candidate for chancellor for the 1990 federal election. In the first all-German election to the Bundestag, Oskar Lafontaine and his SPD lost 33.5 percent of the votes to the Union, which together with the FDP achieved the majority.

Oskar Lafontaine had previously been the victim of an assassination attempt by a mentally ill woman during an election campaign appearance. However, he survived the knife attack quite well, spent only a short time in the hospital and was also available as a candidate for chancellor in December.

In the following elections in 1994, he returned to the Bundestag with an absolute majority in his Saarbrücken constituency, but the SPD lost the election again despite gaining votes. This was to change in 1998, when he, together with Gerhard Schröder, won the election for the SPD as chancellor candidate and for the first time a Red-Green alliance governed the Federal Republic.

Nevertheless, his collaboration with Schröder and other grandees of the SPD lasted only a few months before Oskar Lafontaine resigned both as finance minister and as SPD executive.

After ever-increasing differences in content with his party, he finally left the party in 2005 after around 40 years of membership. Just a few years later, he joined a left-wing alliance of WASG and PDS, which would later become the game “Die Linke”. Here, too, he worked for a number of years as federal chairman before becoming state chairman of the SPD in Saarland for some time. For the Left, he also moved back into the Bundestag.

Career highlights

In addition to his long tenure as Prime Minister of the State of Saarland, it was the successful federal elections in 1998 that must be described as the highlight of Oskar Lafontaine’s career. Even if his subsequent position as finance minister of the Federal Republic was short-lived, it was formally the high point of his political career. He himself would certainly count the return to the Bundestag with his new, much more left-wing party “Die Linke” than the SPD was among his highlights.

Famous quotes

“Actually, you don’t want to be constantly attacked. But on the other hand, it’s important to swim against the tide.”

“There are no real friendships in politics, only temporary alliances.”

“We cannot react to the constantly increasing life expectancy with ever shorter working lives.”

“Helmut Schmidt continues to talk about a sense of duty, predictability, feasibility and steadfastness. These are secondary virtues. To put it more precisely: You can also run a concentration camp with it.”

“Where it says SPD, there shouldn’t be an FDP in it.”

Amazing Facts

Oskar Lafontaine is married for the fourth time to Sahra Wagenknechte, who is also a member of the Left Party leadership. He has no children with her, but has two sons from his previous marriages.

According to his own statements, he studied physics with minimal effort and read a lot during this time, especially Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Estimated value: €22 million