Volker Bouffier (born 18 December 1951) is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Since 31 August 2010 he has been Minister President of the German state of Hesse. From 1 November 2014 until 31 October 2015 he was President of the Bundesrat and ex officio deputy to the President of Germany. He has been chairman of CDU in Hesse since July 2010. From 1999 to 2010, he was minister of interior and sports in the state of Hesse. Bouffier is a lawyer by profession. Because of his participation in state government, he is the longest serving Member of the Bundesrat, representing Hesse since 1999.

Volker Bouffier
MJK00898 Volker Bouffier.jpg
Volker Bouffier, 2016
Minister President of Hesse
Assumed office
31 August 2010
DeputyTarek Al-Wazir
Preceded byRoland Koch
Leader of the Christian Democratic Union in Hesse
Assumed office
12 July 2010
DeputyEva Kühne-Hörmann
Preceded byRoland Koch
Deputy Leader of the Christian Democratic Union
Assumed office
15 November 2010
LeaderAngela Merkel
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer
Preceded byRoland Koch
President of the Federal Council
In office
1 November 2014 – 31 October 2015
Preceded byStephan Weil
Succeeded byStanislaw Tillich
Hessian Minister of the Interior and Sport
In office
7 April 1999 – 31 August 2010
Prime MinisterRoland Koch
Preceded byGerhard Bökel
Succeeded byBoris Rhein
Member of the Landtag of Hesse
for Giessen II
Assumed office
7 February 1999
Preceded byKarl Starzacher
Personal details
Born (1951-12-18) 18 December 1951 (age 67)
Giessen, Hesse, West Germany
Political partyCDU

Early life and careerEdit

Bouffier grew up in Giessen. His father Robert Bouffier (1920–1999) was a lawyer and CDU local politician in Giessen; his grandfather Robert Ferdinand August Bouffier (1883–1971) moved from Strasbourg to Giessen in 1906, where he later became a CDU politician.[1] His paternal family is of French Huguenot ancestry.[2]

He studied law at the University of Giessen and completed his studies in 1977. From 1975 to 1978 he was a research assistant in public law at the University of Giessen, and in 1978 he was called to the bar. He practiced law for many years in addition to his political activities and is currently an inactive partner in the law firm Bouffier & Wolf.[3]

Political careerEdit

Bouffier was leader of the Hessian Young Union, the youth organisation of the CDU, from 1978 to 1984. Bouffier was first elected to the Parliament of the State of Hesse in 1982. He served as State Minister of the Interior and Sports in the government of Minister-President Roland Koch from 1999 to 2010.[4]

When Koch announced his withdrawal from the political scene and resigned in August 2010,[5] he nominated Bouffier as his successor to lead the center-right CDU-FDP government that was formed after the 2009 state elections.

In the negotiations to form a coalition government of the Christian Democrats (CDU together with the Bavarian CSU) and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) following the 2009 federal elections, Bouffier was part of the CDU/CSU delegation in the working group on internal and legal affairs, led by Wolfgang Schäuble and Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger.

In 2010, Bouffier was elected vice chairman of the CDU and has since been serving in the party’s national leadership under successive chairwomen Angela Merkel (2012-2018) and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (since 2018). On 7 June 2011, he was among the guests invited to the state dinner hosted by President Barack Obama in honor of Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House.[6]

Under Bouffier's leadership, Hesse joined forces with Bavaria in early 2013 to launch a constitutional challenge to the Germany's system of tax transfers in order to stop subsidising spending in the city of Berlin, the national capital, and all the poorer states. At the time, Hesse was the third largest net contributor, with an annual transfer of almost €1.3 billion.[7]

On 8 February 2013, Bouffier agreed to the proposal of the President Joachim Gauck to hold the state elections on the same day as Germany's federal elections. When the official result gave no major parties and their traditional coalition partners a clear majority in the parliament, Bouffier decided to break ranks with the rest of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party and seek a coalition government with the Greens rather than the Social Democrats (SPD).[8] He thereby created only the second CDU-Green coalition to govern a German state, after the previous government of Hamburg. On the federal level, he was part of the 15-member leadership circle chaired by Merkel, Horst Seehofer and Sigmar Gabriel in the negotiations to form a coalition government.

As one of the state's representatives at the Bundesrat, Germany's upper house of parliament, Bouffier is a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Defence. In October 2015, while he held the rotating presidency of the Bundesrat, he hosted the three-day festivities for the 25th anniversary of the reunification of the former East and West German states.[9]

Other activitiesEdit

Corporate boardsEdit

  • Helaba, Member of the Board of Public Owners
  • KfW, Member of Board of Supervisory Directors (2011-2013)

Non-profit organizationsEdit


German politicians from across the political spectrum criticized Deutsche Bank co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen in December 2012 following reports he had telephoned Bouffier to complain about a raid on the bank's Twin Towers in Frankfurt – even though Bouffier's office was not directly responsible for overseeing the action.[19]

During the trial of Beate Zschäppe for the NSU murders, the BfV-Agent Andreas Temme, who was at the scene of one of the murders, yet claimed to not have noticed it, was accused by the prosecution of having sympathies towards Neo-Nazism himself, thus casting doubt on his testimony. Bouffier, then interior minister of Hesse, shielded Temme from further investigations, citing protection of undercover agents.[20][21]

Personal lifeEdit

Bouffier is married to his wife Ursula, a former radiology assistant.[22] In early 2019, he underwent treatment for skin cancer.[23]


  1. ^ Hessian Biography
  2. ^ Die Spuren französischer Glaubensflüchtlinge in Hessen
  3. ^ Volker Bouffier
  4. ^ Lewis, Derek; Zitzlsperger, Ulrike (2016-10-18). Historical Dictionary of Contemporary Germany. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442269576.
  5. ^ Liveticker: Die Pressekonferenz zum Koch-Rückzug Archived 2010-05-28 at the Wayback Machine from fr-online.de, 25 May 2010 (downloaded on 25 May 2010)
  6. ^ Expected Attendees at Tonight's State Dinner Office of the First Lady of the United States, press release of 7 June 2011.
  7. ^ Quentin Peel (February 5, 2013), States challenge Germany’s subsidies Financial Times.
  8. ^ Holger Hansen (November 22, 2013), Merkel ally seeks local coalition with Greens rather than SPD Reuters.
  9. ^ Germany Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Reunification Haaretz, October 3, 2015.
  10. ^ Board of Trustees Archived 2014-05-15 at the Wayback Machine Deutsches Museum.
  11. ^ Board of Trustees Archived 2016-08-29 at the Wayback Machine Hessische Kulturstiftung, Wiesbaden.
  12. ^ Board of Trustees Archived 2014-04-04 at the Wayback Machine House of Finance.
  13. ^ Paul Ehrlich Foundation: Board of Trustees Goethe University Frankfurt.
  14. ^ Board of Trustees Stiftung Deutsche Sporthilfe, Frankfurt.
  15. ^ Board of Trustees Archived 2016-07-11 at the Wayback Machine Landesstiftung Miteinander in Hessen, Wiesbaden
  16. ^ Board of Trustees Fritz Bauer Institute, Frankfurt.
  17. ^ Advisory Board Stiftung Flughafen Frankfurt/Main für die Region.
  18. ^ red/kai (2015-06-02). "Erneut Schirmherr der Bad Hersfelder Festspiele – Ministerpräsident Bouffier eröffnet die Festspiele". hersfelder-zeitung.de. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  19. ^ Noah Barkin and Matthias Sobolewski (December 17, 2012), Deutsche chief blasted for call to complain over raid Reuters.
  20. ^ Thomas Meaney and Saskia Schäfer (December 15, 2016), The neo-Nazi murder trial revealing Germany's darkest secrets The Guardian.
  21. ^ dpa (February 1, 2016), „Länder behielten Informationen für sich“ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
  22. ^ Peter Lückemeier (August 30, 2010), Der künftige Ministerpräsident war ihr Scheidungsanwalt Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
  23. ^ Ewald Hetrodt (May 1, 2019), Volker Bouffier: Hessens Ministerpräsident zurück im Volk Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Political offices
Preceded by
Roland Koch (CDU)
Minister-President of Hesse
2010 – present
Succeeded by