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Kohl's 16-year tenure was the longest of any German Chancellor since Otto von Bismarck, and by far the longest of any democratically elected Chancellor.
However, when a proposal by the board was put to vote at a party convention in early 1971 in Düsseldorf, Kohl was unable to prevail against protest coming from the conservative wing of the party around Alfred Dregger and the sister party CSU, costing him support at the liberal wing of the party.
To make matters worse, in a mistake during the voting process, Kohl himself voted against the proposal, further angering his supporters, such as party treasurer Walther Leisler Kiep.
After Barzel also lost the general election later that year, the path was free for Kohl to take over.
After Barzel announced on that he would not run for the post of party chairman again, Kohl succeeded him at a party convention in Bonn on 12 June 1973, amassing 520 of 600 votes, with him as the only candidate.
; born 3 April 1930) is a German statesman, who served as Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 (of West Germany 1982–90 and of the reunited Germany 1990–98) and as the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 1973 to 1998.