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Helmut Kohl (1973)
The Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate, Helmut Kohl, was elected National Chairman of the CDU in 1973. In the 1976 Bundestag elections, he was the CDU's candidate for Chancellor. Kohl lost a tight race to Helmut Schmidt (SPD) but polled 48.6%, the second-best result the CDU/CSU had ever achieved in Bundestag elections. As a result, he stepped down as Minister President and became leader of the opposition in parliament, eventually assuming the reins of government as Federal Chancellor in October 1982. Portrait by Kurt Rohwedder (1973).