In the summer of 1979, 12 young men on a flight from Venezuela to Chile hit on an entertaining idea to pass the time. Half-jokingly, they drafted a document called the “Andes Pact,” swearing eternal allegiance and mutual help to each other in their political careers.
The would-be politicians from the Junge Union — young members of Germany’s center-right Christian Democrats — proved quite successful. One of them, Christian Wulff, became German president. Another, Günther Oettinger, is a European Union commissioner today.
A few, like Matthias Wissmann and Franz Josef Jung, went on to become cabinet ministers. Others became state premiers, including Roland Koch of Hessen, Peter Müller of Saarland and Volker Bouffier, also of Hessen.