Former Saxony-Anhalt Finance Minister Jens Bullerjahn (SPD) is dead. The 60-year-old died in a hospital on Saturday, as a government spokesman and Bullerjahn's former State Secretary Jörg Felgner confirmed to the German Press Agency on Saturday evening. Born in Halle, Bullerjahn was finance minister in Saxony-Anhalt from 2006 to 2016. From 2006 to 2007 he was Vice-Chairman of the SPD.
In an interview with the "Mitteldeutsche Zeitung" this year, the SPD politician made it public that he suffers from the rare nervous disease ALS. This is an incurable disease of the nervous system. The newspaper first reported on Bullerjahn's death on Saturday.
The trained electrical engineer began his political career in local politics. From 1990 to 2016 he was a member of the state parliament of Saxony-Anhalt. As parliamentary manager of the SPD parliamentary group, he was considered one of the architects of the "Magdeburg model", which caused a sensation nationwide: From 1994 to 2002, the then Prime Minister Reinhard Höppner (SPD) led a government without his own majority and was in the state parliament on the support of the PDS instructed.
Later, Bullerjahn also became leader of the Social Democrats. He was nominated as the top candidate for the 2006 state elections, but only came third with the SPD. His career as Minister of Finance began in the CDU-SPD coalition that followed. In 2011 he was again the SPD's top candidate.
"I was the one who couldn't run away fast enough," Bullerjahn once joked in autumn 2012, when the post of chairman of the collective bargaining community of German states (TdL) was to be filled.
His rigid financial policy course as a minister opened up room for maneuver in Saxony-Anhalt. The budget was consolidated. "A social democrat who can handle money," was the headline in the "FAZ" at the time. However, his actions always brought him criticism from his own party.
Several politicians paid tribute to Bullerjahn on Sunday. Saxony's economics minister and SPD representative for Eastern Europe, Martin Dulig, said that Bullerjahn was a good friend, a long-time companion and a reliable, energetic and responsible comrade. "We will not forget his services to Saxony-Anhalt and East Germany," said Dulig.
Saxony-Anhalt's Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (CDU) was also dismayed: "With Jens Bullerjahn, Saxony-Anhalt has lost a politician who decisively shaped this state," he said.
Thuringia's Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) wrote on Twitter that he was "infinitely sad". “We wanted to push the Transformation East even further. He was full of energy and had so many ideas. Then came his bitter diagnosis.”
In the fall of 2015, at the age of 53, Bullerjahn, Germany's longest-serving finance minister, surprisingly announced his retirement from politics. He then published several books and enjoyed sailing.