Renate Kunast was born in Recklinghausen in North-Rhine/Westphalia on 15 December 1955. She studied social work at the polytechnic college of Dusseldorf. From 1977 to 1979 she worked as a social worker in the penal institution of Berlin-Tegel, taking care of drug addicts in particular. She subsequently studied law, completing her studies with the second state examination in 1985.
She joined the Alternative List of West Berlin in 1979 and has assumed various functions for the Party since then. She acted as parliamentary group chairwoman during the Red/Green Coalition in Berlin.
After the end of the Red/Green senate coalition, Kunast continued to serve as a Member of Parliament in the parliamentary group of the Alliance 90/the Greens, first as a chairwoman until 1993 and then as a legal policy spokeswoman.
On 24 June 2000 Renate Kunast was elected chairwoman of the federal party executive of the Alliance 90 / The Greens and has been Federal Minister of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture since 12 January 2001.
She has used the once low-profile job of Agriculture Minister to become one of the nation’s most popular politicians. In one recent poll, the she ranked behind only Chancellor Gerhard Schroder and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.
Philip Jones Griffiths »