Fdp is a party that is not talked about much, instead it is growing in the polls (even if for the mainstream press it dedicates more space to the Greens) and it can be the tip of the balance of different coalitions if the numbers oblige a three-party coalition. The in-depth study by Pierluigi Mennitti from Berlin
Eight years ago they had disappeared from the parliamentary radar, triggering learned analyzes of the decline of liberalism in the German version and some regrets over the demise of a historic Bundesrepublik force. And four years ago they returned to the Bundestag and then even burned a government opportunity (the Jamaica attempt) for incompatibility with Angela Merkel. For a long time it seemed the first of a long chain of errors, the most serious of which was the mess of a year ago with the Afd in Thuringia. But the liberals of the FDP have re-emerged forcefully in recent months and today they find themselves on the starting line of the electoral campaign with polls that rate them between 11 and 12%. That if confirmed on September 26, it would be among the best results in its long history.
Not bad for a party whose funeral historians and journalists had in fact celebrated five and a half years ago. The liberals are back, challenging the Zeitgeist of the moment, ecological and basically statist, and they are back to stay. Indeed, to go to the government if the numbers require a three-party coalition.
The congress (virtual of course) that over the weekend confirmed the incumbent president, Christian Lindner, and fired the electoral program sent clear signals. After the Merkel era, with which the party experienced a stormy coalition between 2009 and 2013 that ended with the parliamentary disappearance, the FDP wants to return to the government. Preferably with Armin Laschet’s CDU, with whom he already governs in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous Land in Germany. But since the numbers will almost certainly not be there, the liberals are ready to probe that Jamaican majority with the Greens who refused under Merkel’s aegis, even if they may find themselves having to deal with an ecological chancellor rather than a new Christian chancellor. -democratic.
Moreover, the liberals also have a further hypothesis, albeit more risky, above all from the programmatic point of view: a liberal-socialist majority with the Greens and the Social Democrats (traffic light coalition). Here too there is a regional model, Rhineland-Palatinate, led by a president of the SPD. It is a hypothesis that dances on the edge of 50% and can only be proposed if all three parties involved are able to get the most out of the polls. But even this is an option that can allow liberals to regain a leading role in German politics, as in the days of Hans-Dietrich Genscher, also interpreting the widespread desire for change reiterated yesterday in a poll by the polling institute. Allensbach who shook the Berlin political world:
Analyzing the curves of the polls, the FDP seems to contribute like the Greens to dry up the consensus of the CDU. The critical positioning wanted by Lindner towards the management of the government covid (and Angela Merkel in particular) allowed him to intercept two typically liberal demands: that of individual rights, to defend and safeguard against the paternalistic temptations of the state, and that of economic freedoms entangled in the network of restrictions imposed to contain pandemic waves.
There was no sector more penalized than self-employed work, which carried the economic burden of the second and third pandemic waves on its shoulders practically exclusively. Gastronomy and tourism have been virtually blocked since last October, the retail trade closed its doors in mid-December and reopened only a few weeks ago under strict rules that severely limit its activity. Of course, the infections had to be stopped, but the government’s political choice marked a fracture in the economic world: unlike the first wave, in fact, large industry remained open and the cultural and digital backwardness of the country did not allow other sectors (the public administration for example) contributed with a massive home office to the reduction of circulation and contacts.
Government aid has been massive but at times not punctual and in any case and not total: the art and culture freelancers have been exposed, as well as the unhired staff of restaurants and hotels. The weakest of the middle class have paid the most and even in trade many swords of Damocles of bankruptcy are still suspended.
In addition to this large area of ‚Äč‚Äčimpoverished middle class, the FDP is intercepting the discontent that has grown in the wider business world over the delays in investments in infrastructure and innovation of the last governments. What has been done has not been enough, the big industrial associations have been criticizing for some time, and risks making Germany lose its connection with the major international players, the USA and China, but also South Korea and the entire tiger supply chain of Southeast Asia.
If Merkel is no longer the sought-after interlocutor (given the non-reappointment), Lindner and his Fdp seem to attract the attention of entrepreneurs much more than Armin Laschet and his still confused new CDU or Olaf Scholz, whose social democratic recipes include too many fees to their liking.
Lindner tries to cement this newly found feeling with the economy and business, presenting himself as the guarantor of genuinely liberal positions in any government negotiations with the Greens and with one of the two historic (and perhaps former) mass parties. The program contains a clear promise not to increase the tax burden, which is already very high in Germany, but rather to try to lighten the burden, especially for those companies that will contribute to growth by investing. An eye to budget consolidation, the traditional workhorse of the FDP: expenses yes, but limited in time and aimed at supporting research, innovation and digital modernization, without forgetting that the financial commitment of the State must and can be accompanied by that of private. And then a quick return to the public debt brake,
As for green issues, at the center of the electoral confrontation and driving force of the rise of the Grunen, the liberals point their feet precisely against the idea that the pursuit of objectives for reducing emissions and environmental protection must fall on the shoulders of taxpayers: the same goals they can be achieved by focusing on the development and competition of technological innovations.
And then there is the question of individual rights, underlining which not only the FDP has found a narrow but winning way to criticize government paternalism in times of covid without slipping into Afd populism, but has also strengthened the second pillar ( after the economic one) of the party profile.
The FDP does not enjoy a favorable press in the mainstream German media environment, but it must be recognized that while other parties uttered words and signed appeals to support civil liberties, the liberals practiced them: the memory goes to the late leader Guido Westerwelle, who as foreign minister I bring his homosexual normality to many aspects of international politics, even in countries where these issues are taboo.

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