FDP Hessen

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FDP Hessen
Stefan Ruppert
Stefan Ruppert
FDP LV Hessen.svg
Chairman Stefan Ruppert
Deputy Jürgen Lenders
Bettina Stark-Watzinger
Secretary General Moritz Promny
Treasurer Matthias Büger
executive Director Konstantin Heck
Honorary Chairwoman Ruth Wagner
Wolfgang Gerhardt
Establishment date January 11, 1946
Place of foundation Frankfurt am Main
Headquarters Adolfsallee 11
65185 Wiesbaden
Landtag mandates
Number of members 6,322 (as of December 31, 2018)
Website www.fdp-hessen.de

The FDP Hessen is the regional association of the FDP in the state of Hesse . In 1950, with 31.8% of the vote, it achieved the best result that the Liberals have ever achieved in a state election.


Background: Liberal parties in Hesse

The Liberals were the first to form a party in the 1860s. Organized in the Progressive Party , under August Metz in 1862 they succeeded in obtaining an overwhelming majority in the Second Chamber of the Estates of the Grand Duchy of Hesse . However, the division of the Liberals into several parties had already started in Hesse. The National Liberal Party , which was still a minority in 1862, dominated the state parliament from 1872 until the end of the Empire, albeit with a steadily decreasing number of members.

This division continued in the Weimar Republic . In the Landtag of the People's State of Hesse , two liberal parties were represented, the DDP and the DVP . Their share of the vote, however, fell from a total of 30% in 1919 to 18% in 1927. In the 1930s, the liberals fell back to the level of splinter groups, until liberal political work in Germany became impossible when the National Socialists came to power .


On September 19, 1945, General Dwight D. Eisenhower's Proclamation 2 formed the state of Greater Hesse . With the decision of the military government of November 23, 1945, the party was allowed to work at the state level. This was preceded by the permission of the occupation authorities of August 27, 1945 to form parties at the district level. As a result, a nationwide network of local and district associations was formed. So was z. For example, the Frankfurt District Association was founded in early September 1945 as the “Liberal Democratic Party” and appointed Georg Ludwig Fertsch as its chairman. On September 28, 1945, the military government was approved.

The founding meeting of the regional association took place on December 29, 1945 in Frankfurt am Main. At this meeting, representatives of the liberal district associations elected Georg Ludwig Fertsch as the first state chairman of the Hessian LDP. On January 11, 1946, the FDP in Hesse was approved by the American military authorities under the name LDP "Liberal Democratic Party - State Association of Greater Hesse ".

From the decline of the liberal parties in the Weimar Republic, the conclusion was drawn that all liberal forces should gather in one party. However, a large proportion of the liberals decided against the LDP and in favor of the CDU, which saw itself as a non-denominational gathering party in the liberal tradition.

In the Advisory State Committee appointed on February 19, 1946 , each of the four approved parties, the SPD, CDU , KPD and LDP, had twelve members each. However, this did not correspond to the majority in the population, as the following elections showed.

In the local elections in early 1946 , the LDP managed to achieve outstanding results in individual locations. The LDP under Karl Theodor Bleek achieved over 40% of the votes in Marburg . In the area, however, the number of candidates and local associations was too small to achieve an election victory. In the election for the state assembly advising the constitution , the Liberals received 6 out of 90 seats and had only limited influence.

There were also power struggles within the party. On June 1, 1946, the state party convention decided to confirm Georg Ludwig Fertsch as party chairman, but to instruct August-Martin Euler to represent the state association externally. So disempowered, Georg Ludwig Fertsch resigned on June 21, 1946 and Euler became his successor.

In the state elections in Hesse in 1946 , the LDP almost doubled its share of the vote from 7.9% to 15.7% and became the third strongest force in the state parliament.

In December 1948, the LDP of Hesse merged with the 12 other liberal state associations of the three western occupation zones to form the FDP. Under Euler, the Hessian liberals positioned themselves as the opposition and occupied national and anti-socialist positions against the politics of the state government. Since at the same time the CDU pursued a comparatively left-wing policy that was compatible with the goals of the SPD, the Hessian FDP managed to retain large parts of the voters who support the CDU in other countries. The FDP formed a right-wing collection movement and was also able to involve large sections of farmers and the commercial middle class. In addition, at that time the CDU in Hesse was largely regarded as a "Catholic" party and, despite its interdenominational claims, could only reach a few Protestant voters from the conservative and national spectrum.

The 1950 triumph and the time of opposition

In the 1949 federal election , the FDP benefited from this policy. Nationwide it received 11.9% of the votes, in Hesse 28.1%. An even greater success was achieved in the state elections in Hesse in 1950 : 31.8% of the voters opted for the list of the FDP, which is their best result in a state election to date. However, a political decision was primarily responsible for this result: The FDP and the Federation of Expellees and Disenfranchised (BHE) appeared on a list under the name FDP. Hesse took in a disproportionately large number of displaced persons after the Second World War. A large number of these expellees chose the common list known as "FDP". The parties split again in the state parliament. A parliamentary group of the FDP with 13 members and one of the BHE with 8 members were formed.

In the state elections in Hesse in 1954 , the FDP and GB / BHE ran separately. The FDP reached 20.5%, the GB / BHE 7.7%. The FDP was nevertheless able to enlarge the parliamentary group with 21 members. The SPD formed a coalition with the GB / BHE and the FDP remained in the opposition.

In 1956 the FDP split up. Max Becker was elected as the Hessian FDP chairman. August-Martin Euler resigned and founded the right-wing Free People's Party (FVP). With him a number of members left the party. The local elections in 1956 led to heavy losses, which continued in the state elections in Hesse in 1958 : Only 9.5% of the voters choose the Liberals. In 1958, Oswald Adolph Kohut , a representative of the left wing, was elected as party leader. The local elections of 1960 and the Bundestag election in 1961 showed a stabilization of the FDP. In the federal election, the Hessian FDP received 15.2% of the votes (12.8% on the national average). After the federal election, Kohut resigned in protest against the fact that the coalition of the FDP and CDU was continued at the federal level with Konrad Adenauer as Federal Chancellor. Wolfgang Mischnick and Heinrich Kohl took over provisional management of the regional association until District Administrator Heinrich Kohl was elected chairman by the regional party conference in 1962. In the state elections in 1962 (11.4%) and 1966 (10.4%), the proportion of votes held by the FDP hardly changed. The FDP remained the opposition in the "Red Hesse" during the tin era .

Social liberal years

Wolfgang Mischnick (1976)

In 1967 Wolfgang Mischnick took over the management of the regional association. As a result, the FDP increasingly oriented itself towards the SPD. After the Bundestag election in 1969 , a social-liberal coalition came into being at the federal level. The Hessian FDP actively pursued this policy change and was punished for it in the federal elections with a noticeable loss of votes. 6.7% of the Hessians voted for the FDP in the federal election. This was still more than the 5.8% nationwide, but far from previous results.

In July 1970, the state main committee of the Hessian FDP decided with only one vote against a coalition statement in favor of the SPD also in the state elections in Hesse in 1970 . In the election, the FDP achieved 10.1%. However, the FDP was unable to win back the previous voters. As the SPD's losses made clear, the FDP mainly won votes from former SPD voters.

The social-liberal coalition set new priorities in the country: School policy polarized with the plan to introduce comprehensive schools as unified schools and the new framework guidelines for teaching. Above all, however, the regional reform in Hesse moved the citizens. The FDP could not benefit from the new policy in the elections. In 1974 the FDP received 7.4%, in 1978 only 6.6% of the vote. The local elections in Hesse in 1977 , in which the CDU achieved high profits, turned into a fiasco for Red-Yellow . Ekkehard Gries replaced Wolfgang Mischnick in 1977 as regional chairman.

As a result, the Free Democrats insisted that state policy be corrected, particularly in education policy. At the same time, the SPD moved further to the left on important issues. The SPD was deeply divided on the question of the construction of the West Runway and nuclear policy. Heinz Herbert Karry was murdered on May 11, 1981 . His successor was Klaus-Jürgen Hoffie , who spoke out in favor of a change of coalition. At a party congress on June 17, 1982 in Darmstadt, a majority was in favor of a coalition statement in favor of the CDU in the state elections in Hesse in 1982 , while the federal FDP was still on June 18. spoke out in favor of the continuation of the social-liberal coalition in Bonn. Nine days before the Hessen election, however, the FDP federal ministers resigned to make room for a CDU / FDP coalition. The SPD, which until then had lagged behind in the opinion polls, posted “Treason in Bonn” and the FDP failed with 3.1% of the five percent hurdle .

Red-green and black-yellow

Wolfgang Gerhardt during a speech in the German Bundestag

From 1982 to 2013, the FDP made a coalition statement in favor of the CDU before state elections. But initially the " Hessian conditions " existed, in which neither the SPD nor the CDU had a majority in the state parliament. Even after the early state elections in Hesse in 1983 , these conditions had not dissolved. After the election, the FDP was back in the state parliament with 7.9% of the vote. However, these gains were at the expense of the CDU, so that there was no bourgeois majority. The FDP's slogan "Because there is more need - In Hessen FDP" alluded to the mathematical impossibility of the CDU to govern alone. The refusal to work with the SPD caused some left-wing liberals to convert to the SPD and, in the form of the Liberal Democrats , also resulted in a split from the FDP. However, this party played no role in the 1983 state election.

Although a new social-liberal coalition would theoretically have been possible in 1983, the FDP was not ready for this. This would have contradicted the positioning in the federal government as well as given the reputation as a “party to fall”. Contrary to all promises made before the election, there was a red-green cooperation and later a red-green coalition in Hesse.

The state elections in Hesse in 1987 then resulted in a (albeit narrow) majority for black and yellow. Wolfgang Gerhardt , chairman of the FDP Hessen since 1982, became deputy prime minister of a government under Walter Wallmann . For the first time since the country was founded, a government had been formed without the SPD. With the election slogan of the FDP in this election “For the freedom of the individual”, the FDP emphasized an orientation towards the goals of a social market economy, few possibilities for the state to intervene, civil rights and a high-performing education and science policy.

As close as the FDP and CDU had won the 1987 election, they just lost the 1991 state election . The election researchers attested a high degree of satisfaction with state politics. The FDP remained stable at 7.4%. The state elections in Hesse in 1995 did not lead the FDP to the government, despite slight gains and 7.9% of the votes. Ruth Wagner took over the state chairmanship in 1995.

It was not until the state elections in Hesse in 1999 that the leap into government under Prime Minister Roland Koch succeeded . However, the FDP had to accept the second worst result in its history with 5.1%. The background to this was the polarization that resulted from the issue of dual citizenship . However, the unexpectedly high profits for the Union ultimately led to a black and yellow government majority.

The poll results confirmed the popularity of the government in this electoral term and that of the FDP ministers Ruth Wagner and Dieter Posch . In the state elections in Hesse in 2003 , it was precisely this approval of the FDP population that was fatal. With 7.9%, the FDP made up for the defeat of the last election. But the gains of the CDU, which was able to achieve an absolute majority, were even greater. Roland Koch's offer to continue the coalition was rejected by the FDP. However, FDP representatives remained in office at the level of state secretaries and government presidents. During its time in opposition, the FDP saw itself as the "guardian of the center".

Election slogan 2009

Under the new chairman Jörg-Uwe Hahn , who has headed the regional association since 2006, the FDP achieved 9.4% of the votes in the state elections in Hesse in 2008 . Due to the massive losses suffered by the CDU, there was again insufficient majority and the Koch II cabinet remained in office. Before the election, possible coalitions had been discussed intensively. The background was the possible entry of the party Die Linke into the state parliament. Before the election, the FDP had made a clear coalition statement in favor of the CDU and categorically rejected a traffic light coalition . After the election and the entry of the left into the state parliament, the FDP stood by its word and remained in the opposition. After Andrea Ypsilanti's attempt , contrary to her election promise to form a red-green minority government tolerated by the left, failed, there were early state elections on January 18, 2009 . The FDP advertised itself with the slogan “Our word is valid” and a new coalition statement for the CDU and achieved the best result since 1954 with 16.2%. As a result, a black-yellow coalition was formed in which the FDP three ministers represents.

In the state elections on September 22, 2013 , however, the FDP suffered dramatically high losses of 11.2 percentage points and only barely entered the state parliament with 5.0 percent of the votes cast. As a result, it was not enough for the black-yellow coalition to continue.

In the state election on October 28, 2018 , the FDP was able to improve its result from 2013 and move back into the state parliament with 7.5%.


The current program of the FDP Hessen is the program adopted on June 29, 2013 in Bad Wildungen for the 2013 state election “Education, economy, justice - we create opportunities!”.



The FDP Hessen is divided into 5 district associations and 23 district associations:

  • District Association of South Hesse-Starkenburg
  • District Association Rhine-Main
  • District Association of Central Hesse
  • District Association of North-East Hesse
  • District Association of West Hesse-Nassau

With the Karl-Hermann-Flach Foundation named after Karl-Hermann Flach , the FDP Hessen has its own party-affiliated foundation analogous to the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for the Freedom of the Federal Association.

The political subjects are prepared in state committees:

  • Research, technology and energy policy
  • Domestic and legal policy
  • International politics
  • Agriculture and Consumer Protection
  • Media policy
  • School and further education
  • Social, health and senior citizens policy
  • Sports
  • environment
  • Transport policy
  • Economic, tax and financial policy
  • Science, art and culture
  • Religious communities
  • Rural area
  • integration

Development of membership numbers

After the Second World War, the number of members increased steadily to reach nearly 6,000 by the late 1940s. There is no data for the following years, but the number of members in 1969 was at the same level. The social-liberal coalition in Bonn and later also in Hesse led (as with the other parties) to a strong increase in membership. The strong increase in membership ended in 1977. With the change of coalition in 1982, the FDP lost 20% of its members within a short period of time. But also in the following years the number of members continued to decrease, only to reach the lowest point at the turn of the millennium. Since then, the number of members has increased moderately again. The proportion of women in the membership is around 25%.

year Members
1949 approx. 5,800
1969 approx. 5,800
1977 approx. 9,900
1982 about 10,000
1985 approx. 8,000
1990 7,700
2000 5,938
2006 6,524
2012 5,994
2017 6186

Party leader

Years Chairman photo
1946-1947 Georg Ludwig Fertsch
1947-1956 August-Martin Euler
1956-1958 Max Becker
1958-1961 Oswald Adolph Kohut
1962 Wolfgang Mischnick and Heinrich Kohl come. Wolfgang Mischnick
1962-1967 Heinrich Kohl
1967-1977 Wolfgang Mischnick Wolfgang Mischnick
1977-1982 Ekkehard Gries Ekkehard Gries
1982-1995 Wolfgang Gerhardt Wolfgang Gerhardt
1995-2006 Ruth Wagner
2006-2014 Jörg-Uwe Hahn Jörg-Uwe Hahn
since 2014 Stefan Ruppert Ruppertstefan.jpg

Honorary Chairman:

  • Ekkehard Gries, 1995
  • Ruth Wagner, 2009
  • Wolfgang Gerhardt, 2012

Parliamentary group

The FDP parliamentary group in the Hessian state parliament has consisted of eleven members since the state elections in September 2018 . Group chairman is René Rock . Jürgen Lenders is the parliamentary managing director .

Group leaders

Years Chairman
1946-1951 Karl Theodor Bleek
1951-1954 Ernst Landgrebe
1954-1955 August-Martin Euler
1955-1957 Oswald Kohut
1957-1960 Wolfram Dörinkel
1960-1963 Erich Mix
1963-1965 Heinrich Kohl
1965-1968 Heinrich Rodemer
1968-1970 Heinz Herbert Karry
1970-1977 Hermann Stein
1977-1982 Otto Wilke
1982-1983 not represented in the state parliament
1983-1987 Wolfgang Gerhardt
1987-1991 Otto Wilke
1991-1994 Wolfgang Gerhardt
1994-1999 Ruth Wagner
1999-2009 Jörg-Uwe Hahn
2009–2012 Florian Rentsch
2012-2014 Wolfgang Greilich
2014-2017 Florian Rentsch
since 2017 René Rock

Results of the state elections from 1946

State election results
year be right Seats
1946 15.7% 14th
1950 31.8% 21st
1954 20.5% 21st
1958 9.5% 9
1962 11.4% 11
1966 10.4% 10
1970 10.1% 11
1974 7.4% 8th
1978 6.6% 7th
1982 3.1% 0
1983 7.6% 8th
1987 7.8% 9
1991 7.4% 8th
1995 7.4% 8th
1999 5.1% 6th
2003 7.9% 9
2008 9.4% 11
2009 16.2% 20th
2013 5.0% 6th
2018 7.5% 11


  • Jürgen Dittberner : The FDP. History, people, organization, perspectives. An introduction. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-531-14050-7 , pp. 186-192 ( Google books ).
  • Ludwig Luckemeyer, Ekkehard Gries (ed.): Liberals in Hessen, 1848–1980. Festschrift on the occasion of the 60th birthday of Heinz Herbert Karry. With greetings from Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Wolfgang Mischnick, Bernecker, Melsungen 1980.
  • Theo Schiller : The FDP Hessen in the bourgeois coalition camp. In: Wolfgang Schroeder : Parties and party system in Hessen. From the four and five party system? VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-531-16003-0 , pp. 142-161 ( Google books ).
  • Wolfgang Staudt: Liberals in Hesse since 1945. Materials on the 50th anniversary of the FDP in Hesse , Comdok, St. Augustin 1996.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Oskar Niedermayer : Party members in Germany. Version 2019. (PDF; 1.1 MB) In: fu-berlin.de. Retrieved July 30, 2019 .
  2. history
  3. ^ National and anti-socialist: When the FDP was the second strongest force in Hesse. In: FAZ , January 19, 2009, p. 4.
  4. ^ Gerhard Ziegler: The voters were better than their reputation . In: Die Zeit , No. 46/1970.
  5. ^ Frankfurter Rundschau: Interview with FDP boss Hahn: "The CDU is weak" . In: Frankfurter Rundschau . ( fr.de [accessed on February 13, 2018]).
  6. [1] (PDF)
  7. MPs. FDP parliamentary group in the Hessian state parliament, accessed on May 17, 2018 .
  8. ^ Results of the state elections in Hesse