Free Democratic Party
|Free Democratic Party|
|party leader||Christian Lindner|
|general secretary||Bijan Djir-Sarai (acting)|
|Federal Managing Director||Michael Zimmerman|
|Federal Treasurer||Harold Christian|
Marie-Elisabeth Lüders (†)
|founding||December 12, 1948|
|place of incorporation||Heppenheim|
|youth organization||Young Liberals|
|Party-affiliated foundation||Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom|
|Colours)||Yellow , Blue|
|seats in state legislatures|
|Government grants||15,694,937.26 euros
|number of members||77,000
(as of December 31, 2021)
|minimum age||16 years|
|average age||48 years
(as of December 31, 2021)
|proportion of women||21.6 percent
(as of April 12, 2019)
|International connections||Liberal International (LI)|
|European party||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)|
|EP Group||Renew Europe (RE)|
Participation in the federal government
The Free Democratic Party (abbreviation: FDP , from 1968 to 2001 FDP ; self-designation: Free Democrats , until 2015 Die Liberalen ) is a liberal party in Germany , which is classified in the political spectrum in the center to center-right area.
The FDP was involved in the federal government from 1949 to 1956, 1961 to 1966, 1969 to 1998, 2009 to 2013 and has been the smaller coalition partner since 2021 (see list of German federal governments ). From 1949 to 2013 , the party was consistently represented in the German Bundestag , and in 2017 it returned to the Bundestag as a parliamentary group of Free Democrats . It is represented in thirteen German state parliaments and participates in four state governments . In addition, it provides a number of mayors (including in Dresden and Jena ) and over 3,000 other municipal elected representatives.
The FDP was founded on December 12, 1948 at the founding party conference in Heppenheim and subsequently played a decisive role in shaping the free democratic Basic Law and the first federal government . At the unification party conference on August 12, 1990, the ceremonial merger with the East German associations was committed.
Historical forerunners of the FDP date back to the early days of the democratic movement in Germany at the beginning of the 19th century. The party's immediate lineage goes back to the Heppenheim Convention of October 10, 1847, held before the March Revolution , and the German Progressive Party , founded on June 6, 1861 , the first nationwide party . The annual Epiphany meeting of the FDP on January 6 in the Stuttgart State Theater goes back to the conference of liberal people's associations on Epiphany 1866 in Stuttgart.
The basic idea of the FDP is liberalism , which it has always traditionally represented in Germany. Its fundamental ideal is thus the freedom of the individual, especially from state violence . The ideal of the FDP is thus based on a negative concept of freedom . As in some two-dimensional models of the political spectrum , the orientation of the FDP is described as almost universally liberal in terms of economics and the market.
The current guidelines of the FDP are anchored in the Karlsruhe Freedom Theses. These were decided at the 63rd Ordinary Federal Party Congress on April 22, 2012 in Karlsruhe . Before that, the Wiesbaden principles applied, which were decided at the 48th Ordinary Federal Party Congress on May 24, 1997 in Wiesbaden .
The main goal is to create jobs by improving the investment climate . This is to be achieved, among other things, by reducing bureaucracy , privatization , deregulation , reducing subsidies and reforming collective bargaining law. Accordingly, in the 2021 federal election campaign , party leader Christian Lindner spoke out in favor of a "comeback" of supply -side politics . The party primarily sees opportunities in globalization .
In tax policy, a simpler tax law is required. The income tax model provides for a graduated tariff . In the long term, a so-called flat tax is being sought. Tax cuts are intended to increase the purchasing power of employees and stimulate the economy.
In the 2013 federal election campaign , the FDP rejected the nationwide minimum wage . The party, on the other hand, wanted to introduce lower wage limits that take into account the special features of the respective regions and sectors.
In social policy , the aim is to introduce a citizen 's income, in which all tax-financed social assistance from the state is combined in an unbureaucratic manner. This is a negative income tax model . Like the current regulation, it would be tied to a work obligation. In addition, the party calls for better additional income limits for social welfare recipients and no longer wants to count the income of young people from families who receive social welfare up to the amount of the mini-job.
The FDP sees an acute need for action in pension policy due to demographic change . Here she proposes supplementing the pay-as-you-go pension system with a funded share pension, following the example of Sweden, in order to achieve a rising pension level in the medium term. The party also advocates flexible retirement from the age of 60.
In the field of health policy , the FDP is in favor of reducing bureaucratic regulations. The FDP proposes pricing bureaucracy and reporting obligations. Whoever requests them should also pay for them.
Digitization in healthcare and the introduction of robotic assistance systems should be promoted. The development of digitization should take international technical standards into account in order to ensure interoperability in the future.
The Free Democrats are calling for an improvement in investment funding for maximum care and smaller, specialized hospitals. False incentives for oversupply in the hospital sector should be avoided. Unequal treatment of private, public and denominational providers is rejected, as is the planning sovereignty of the statutory health insurance companies for the supply structures.
Physical self-determination is particularly emphasized. Everyone should have the right to make decisions about their own body, even when it comes to medical treatment. A liberal euthanasia law is demanded.
The FDP is also aiming for a controlled release of marijuana .
In Corona policy , the FDP, as part of the federal government, ended the "epidemic situation of national scope" on November 25, 2021. This abolished special powers with which the Minister of Health and the Federal Government can order measures to combat the pandemic without the participation of Parliament. In a position paper from November 2021, the FDP calls for home office and 3G in the workplace as an obligation. In addition, 3G is also to be introduced for local and long-distance traffic. Vaccination is the right tool to get out of the pandemic, and the vaccination rate should be as high as possible. The FDP is open to facility-related compulsory vaccination. She rejects a general obligation to vaccinate.
A common denominator of the Free Democrats is the critical attitude to the supremacy of the state and to conservative or egalitarian models of society. According to the motto “As much state as necessary, as little state as possible!” the FDP tries to limit state intervention in the life of the individual as much as possible. It therefore also rejects all elements of a surveillance state. For her, the connecting element is the idea of “creating and preserving the freedom of the individual”. It supported almost all social liberalizations that were implemented in the Federal Republic .
The FDP advocates the legal equality of different forms of living together. Marriage between a man and a woman should not be given preference over other forms of coexistence. Same-sex couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples, e.g. B. a joint adoption right. The opening of marriage to same-sex couples was supported. Spouse splitting should be retained. The expansion of kindergarten places is to be stepped up nationwide.
The FDP speaks u. a. against the unreasonable data retention of connection data for telephone and internet.
The “ big eavesdropping attack ” was also controversial : in 1995, the FDP carried out a ballot in which a majority of 37.6 percent voted in favor of having a private apartment bugged with the approval of a judge. In response to the result, the then Federal Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) resigned from her position. When the Bundestag passed the law in question in 1998, some prominent FDP members from the left-liberal wing of the party lodged a constitutional complaint , some of which were successful . The federal party conference in May 2005 in Cologne has meanwhile called for the abolition of the large eavesdropping.
At its meeting on December 12, 2006, the Federal Executive Committee of the FDP also spoke out against the possibility of online searches , as this represented a serious encroachment on the right to informational self-determination .
The Free Democrats are critical of tightening criminal laws. The current law is sufficient to ensure internal security. Instead, she is calling for the hiring of more police officers, judges and prosecutors to increase security and speed up trials. In addition, better resocialization is required, especially for juvenile offenders.
The FDP also demands that dual citizenship should be possible without any problems in the future.
A goal of the FDP is the pre-school support of the children. There should be mandatory language tests from the age of four to identify possible language weaknesses, e.g. B. of children with a migration background , and to be able to train them in a so-called start class in good time before school. In accordance with the legal entitlement to a place in kindergarten, childcare should be free of charge for children and parents on a half-day basis between the age of three and school enrollment (or the first class). As early as the first grade, foreign language lessons should be started in a playful way as an integral part of the lesson plan.
In addition, the Free Democrats stand by the structured school system and reject a uniform school because, in their opinion, it is not performance-oriented enough and individual support is not sufficiently guaranteed. In regions with special social and regional challenges, the FDP calls for talent schools. This is intended to compensate for the social disadvantages in terms of equal opportunities . In addition, the FDP calls for greater autonomy for schools and would like to invest 1 percent of the VAT revenue in education.
Together with other parliamentary groups, the FDP has relaxed the ban on cooperation anchored in the Basic Law . Since then, the federal government has been permitted to invest in infrastructure as well as in quality-enhancing education measures.
The FDP advocates subsequent tuition fees to finance universities. In addition, she calls for laws and regulations that are hostile to research to be changed or abolished in order to secure Germany as a research location and the freedom of research and teaching. Stem cell research should be funded.
The FDP describes itself as the European party. She wants a politically integrated European Union with a common foreign and security policy . According to the FDP, the Lisbon Treaty should have been decided in a referendum. It advocates a politically capable Union. Turkey 's accession to the EU is rejected, instead the liberals advocate close ties in the context of military and economic policy . Deepening the EU has priority over enlargement. The party also supports the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TTIP) with the US.
energy and environmental policy
According to the party, combating climate change is a task for mankind. In environmental policy, the FDP demands a strict CO 2 limit through emissions trading . Trading in emission rights is to be extended to all emitting sectors, and the number of certificates issued is to be reduced each year. The party also wants to make climate protection socially acceptable through an annual climate dividend to be paid to citizens.
In energy policy , the party calls for security of supply and the market-based expansion of renewable energies . The rapid phase-out of nuclear energy was viewed critically for a long time. Since the events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant , there has been an internal party discussion about an accelerated phase-out of nuclear energy ; this is now being supported, as is the medium-term switch to renewable energies .
The FDP is in favor of further expanding transport routes and providing the necessary budgetary funds. The party is currently rejecting a state-imposed traffic shift away from the combustion engine towards electromobility . A general speed limit on motorways or a reduction in the general speed limit is also rejected.
The FDP is critical of Bundeswehr missions and sees them only as a last resort - and only with a UN mandate - to be justified. The Bundeswehr should be a strong NATO partner as well as a parliamentary and professional army . This is one of the reasons why the Free Democrats pushed through the suspension of conscription . In the future, the FDP aims to build a European army under joint supreme command and parliamentary control.
Internationally, the FDP calls for a more determined enforcement and promotion of human rights and freedoms, the further advancement of disarmament efforts and a reform of the United Nations . The policy in Hong Kong promoted by the Chinese Communist Party has been criticized by the party as a breach of international law . In order to sanction violations of human and international law, the party advocates, among other things, a personal sanction mechanism modeled on the Magnitsky Act .
immigration and asylum policies
In immigration policy, the Free Democrats are calling for a clear separation of immigration and asylum or flight , whereby qualified immigration should be made easier through a new immigration law and faster and clearer procedures should be created for humanitarian protection: For example, a new, temporary protection status for civil war refugees should be created be created. The work permit requirement for asylum seekers is to be abolished, as is the residence requirement for refugees, which is seen as an unjustified encroachment on freedom . Furthermore, the FDP demands that the municipalities be relieved and the federal government takes on more costs.
In the medium term, a common EU asylum law with a European quota system is to be created, which distributes asylum seekers to the member states.
Refugees should already be helped in their countries of origin by providing on-site assistance in the affected countries ( combating the causes of flight ). A humanitarian visa is to be introduced for people who are acutely threatened and it is to be possible to apply for asylum abroad in order to spare them a life-threatening flight. The Western Balkan countries are to be declared safe countries of origin in order to curb the influx from these countries.
With regard to the immigration of skilled workers, the FDP is in favor of "drastically simplifying the regulations for the immigration of skilled workers", for example massively lowering the minimum earnings limit and justifying the entitlement to a settlement permit (a permanent right of residence) after just two years if you can prove your language skills.
Liberalism is the oldest of the modern political movements. It comes from the Age of Enlightenment . The "Free Democratic Party" (FDP) stands in the tradition of classic liberalism ; as a political-liberal re-establishment of the post-war period in the three western zones of occupation , it is linked to the social market economy .
The party was founded in 1948 by former members of the DDP and the DVP . The LDPD and the NDPD , as former GDR bloc parties , as well as the DFP and the FDP of the GDR , which came from the citizens' movement in the GDR , went into the all-German FDP in 1990.
The traditional Epiphany meeting of the FDP on January 6th in the Stuttgart State Theater goes back to the first state representative conference of the people's associations of the Württemberg Democratic People's Party (DVP) in 1866. On January 6, 1946, the DVP was re-established in Stuttgart. After a forced twelve-year break during National Socialism , she resumed the tradition of the Epiphany meeting and took part in the founding of the FDP in 1948. Today, the Epiphany meeting of the FDP is a major event of national political importance.
Until June 15, 2014, the FDP had the longest government responsibility of all parties in the Federal Republic of Germany, namely a total of 46 years, but always as the smaller of the coalition partners. She was in the opposition only from 1956 to 1961, from 1966 to 1969 and from 1998 to 2009. She provided eight vice chancellors in a total of 15 different cabinets and four German foreign ministers : Walter Scheel , Hans-Dietrich Genscher , Klaus Kinkel and Guido Westerwelle . Other classic FDP ministerial departments are justice and economics . With Theodor Heuss (1949-1959) and Walter Scheel (1974-1979) she has also provided two Federal Presidents . In 2009, with Guido Westerwelle as the top candidate, she achieved her best election result to date in the Bundestag elections. In the federal elections that followed, the FDP was unable to clear the five percent hurdle , which meant that the FDP was not able to enter the Bundestag for a legislative period for the first time .
An archive of programs and historically important documents at European, federal and state level that the German liberals have produced since 1945 can be found on the website of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom .
roots of liberalism
At the beginning of the 19th century, as part of the Enlightenment , the liberal movement campaigned for more rights for the lower classes and for national unity. Liberal groups, made up largely of students and other intellectuals, protested for "unity and freedom." This was followed by countermeasures by the reactionary forces in Germany, notably by Chancellor Metternich , who was forced to resign in 1848 by the liberal March Revolution . From 1849, however, the revolution was exhausted due to a lack of structure and organization in the liberal camp and the monarchy prevailed again, even if liberal ideas remained firmly rooted and, for example, caused problems for the Prussian king in carrying out his policies until Bismarck stepped in.
The German Progressive Party , founded in 1861, was the first party in the modern sense, with a party program and clear political goals. Its right wing split off in 1867 and formed the National Liberal Party from then on , while the remaining left wing was renamed and reformed several times during the German Empire . Together with the Liberal Union , a split on the left fringe of the National Liberals, the Progressive Party merged in 1884 to form the German Liberal Party . The merger ended in 1893 when the Freisinnige split again into two distinct parties, the Freisinnige People's Party and the Freisinnige Vereinigung . Both party groups merged into the Progressive People's Party in 1910, including the German People's Party .
In the Weimar Republic , the national -liberal German People's Party and the left-liberal German Democratic Party ( German State Party from 1930 ) followed on from their predecessor organizations from the days of the Kaiser. Its members later played a key role in founding the liberal parties in the post-war period.
Liberal parties after 1945
Soon after the end of the war, the Soviet military administration pushed for the establishment of political parties. As a result, at the beginning of July 1945, the former DDP members Wilhelm Külz , Eugen Schiffer and his son-in-law Waldemar Koch called for the founding of the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDP) as an all-German organization, which, however, due to the hesitant approval in the three western zones, only in the eastern zone was constituted. In October 1946, in the only free state elections in the Soviet-occupied areas , the Liberal Democrats achieved between 7.8 percent in Greater Berlin (East) and 29.9 percent in Saxony-Anhalt , where they even provided Erhard Hübener , the only non-Communist prime minister. However, as a “ block party ” the LDP soon had to submit to the SED ’s claim to leadership and was therefore no longer able to pursue independent politics.
Meanwhile, the Party of Free Democrats (PFD) was founded in Hamburg in September 1945 as a bourgeois left-wing party and the first liberal party in the western zones . In October 1946, the party, now known as the FDP, achieved 18.2 percent in the first Hamburg state elections . Furthermore, in January 1946, the Democratic People's Party (DVP) was re-established in the southwest, which performed similarly well in the first Württemberg-Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern state elections in 1946/47 . Liberal parties were also founded in other countries. Among other things, the FDP Hesse , which was still trading as the Liberal Democratic Party when it was founded in December 1945 , achieved the best result in the Hessian state elections in November 1950 with 31.8 percent through a list connection with the expellees who were not allowed to run independently at the time state election results in their history.
In the zones and countries, the liberals initially appeared under different names:
- Hamburg: Party of Free Democrats (PFD) 1945–1946;
- Bremen: Bremen Democratic People's Party (BDV) 1945–1952;
- Bremen: Free Democratic Party Bremen (FDP) 1946-1947;
- Bavaria: German Democratic Party (DDP) 1945–1946;
- Bavaria: Free Democratic Party (FDP);
- Hesse: German Democratic Party (DDP) 1945–1946;
- Hesse: Liberal Democratic Party of Hesse (LDP) 1946–1948;
- Hesse-Palatinate: Social People's League (SV) 1946-1947;
- Rhineland: Liberal Party of the Rhineland (LP) 1945–1947;
- Rhineland-Palatinate: Democratic Party (DP) 1947-1948;
- Württemberg-Baden: Democratic People's Party (DVP) 1945-1952;
- Baden: Democratic Party (DemP) 1946–1948;
- Württemberg-Hohenzollern: Democratic People's Party (DVP) 1946-1953;
- Saarland: Saarland Democratic Union (DVS) 1945–1947;
- Saarland: Saar Democratic Party (DPS) 1947–1951 and 1955–1957;
- British Zone: Free Democratic Party (FDP);
- SBZ : German Democratic Party (DDP) 1945;
- SBZ/GDR: Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDP; from 1951 LDPD) 1945–1990;
- Germany: Democratic Party of Germany (DPD) 1947–1948
On March 17, 1947, the German Democratic Party (DPD) was founded in Rothenburg ob der Tauber as an all-German party. The delegates elected Theodor Heuss (DVP) and Wilhelm Külz (LDP) as co-chairs. The party's offices were set up in Frankfurt am Main , as the seat of the bizonal administration , and Berlin , as the seat of the eastern zone administration. Due to disputes about Külz's conciliatory political course towards the Soviet military authorities, however, this project was not able to establish itself permanently. The last full board meeting took place in January 1948, but there was no formal dissolution.
The FDP was at the founding party conference on 11./12. December 1948 in Heppenheim an der Bergstraße as a merger of all 13 liberal state associations of the three western zones of occupation . The name Liberal Democratic Party could not prevail, the name Free Democratic Party was approved by the delegates of the state associations with 64 votes to 25. The first chairman was Theodor Heuss, his deputy Franz Blücher . The place where the party was founded was chosen with care, because on October 10, 1847, a meeting of leading South and West German liberals took place here with the Heppenheim Assembly , which was to mark the beginning of the German Revolution of 1848/49 .
Up until the 1950s, some state organizations of the FDP stood to the right of the Union parties , which for their part initially still clung to concepts of Christian socialism. With nationally oriented basic values, the voices of former National Socialists and officials of the NS state were solicited. So it is characteristic of the classification at that time that the FDP was always to be found “on the far right” in the German Bundestag , in that it was assigned the seats to the right of the Union .
1949-1969: Reconstruction of Germany
In the first elections to the Bundestag on August 14, 1949 , the FDP won 11.9 percent of the votes (with 12 direct mandates, mainly in Württemberg-Baden and Hesse) and thus received 52 of 402 seats. In September of the same year, the FDP chairman Theodor Heuss was elected the first Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany . When he was re-elected in 1954 , he received 871 out of 1,018 votes (85.6 percent) in the Federal Assembly , the best election result for a Federal President to date. At the same time, at the suggestion of the new Federal President, Adenauer was elected the first Federal Chancellor with an extremely narrow majority. The FDP participated with the CDU/CSU and DP in Adenauer's coalition cabinet and provided three ministers: Franz Blücher (Vice Chancellor, Minister for Marshall Plan Affairs ), Thomas Dehler (Justice) and Eberhard Wildermuth (Housing Construction).
The FDP agreed with its coalition partners CDU/CSU on the most important questions of economic, social and German policy. However, the FDP recommended itself to bourgeois voters as a laicist party that rejected denominational schools and accused the Union parties of being clerical. The FDP also acknowledged itself as a consistent representative of the market economy, while the CDU was then nominally shaped by the Ahlen program , which allowed a third way between capitalism and socialism; Ludwig Erhard , the "father" of the social market economy , had his followers in the early years of the Federal Republic more in the FDP than in the Union.
In the Bundestag, the FDP voted against the denazification process introduced by the CDU and SPD at the end of 1950 . At its federal party conference in Munich in 1951, it demanded the release of all "so-called war criminals " and welcomed the founding of the Union of German Soldiers from former Wehrmacht and SS members in order to advance the integration of nationalist forces into democracy. The Naumann Affair (1953), named after Werner Naumann , marks an attempt by old National Socialists to infiltrate the party, which had many right-wing conservative and nationalist members in Hesse , North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony . After the British occupation authorities had arrested seven prominent representatives of the Naumann circle , the FDP federal executive set up an investigative commission chaired by Thomas Dehler , which sharply reprimanded the conditions in the North Rhine-Westphalian FDP in particular. In the years that followed, the right wing lost strength, and the extreme right increasingly sought fields of activity outside of the FDP. In the federal election of 1953 , the FDP received 9.5 percent of the second votes, 10.8 percent of the first votes (with 14 direct mandates, mainly in Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Hesse, Württemberg and Upper Franconia) and 48 out of 487 mandates.
In the second legislative period of the Bundestag, forces of the southern German Liberal Democracy gained influence in the party. With Thomas Dehler, a representative of a more left-liberal course took over the chairmanship of the party and parliamentary group. The former Minister of Justice Dehler, who suffered persecution by the National Socialists after 1933, became known for his sharp rhetoric. In general, the various state associations were very independent and thus set different accents within liberal politics from country to country. After the FDP left the coalition with the CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia at the beginning of 1956 and formed a new state government with the SPD and Zentrum , a total of 16 members of the Bundestag, including the four federal ministers, left the FDP and founded the short-lived Free People's Party , which then continued until was involved in the federal government instead of the FDP at the end of the legislative period. The FDP went into opposition for the first time.
Despite many problems, the FDP was the only one of the smaller post-war parties to survive. In 1957 she still achieved 7.7 percent of the votes and her last direct mandate until 1990 , with which she held 41 of 497 seats in the Bundestag. However, she remained in opposition because the Union won an absolute majority. In the following, for example, the FDP campaigned for a nuclear weapons-free zone in Central Europe.
Dehler had already resigned as party chairman before the election. At the federal party conference in Berlin at the end of January 1957, Reinhold Maier replaced him . After the federal election, Dehler's function as parliamentary group leader was taken over by the very nationalist Erich Mende . In 1960 Mende also became party chairman.
After the federal elections in 1961 (in which they achieved their best nationwide result with 12.8 percent), the FDP again participated in a coalition with the CDU after difficult negotiations. Although it was agreed before the election that under no circumstances should he continue to sit in a government with Adenauer, Adenauer became chancellor again, but on the condition that he would step down after two years. These events earned the FDP the nickname of the "Falling Party".
In the Spiegel affair , the FDP withdrew its ministers from the federal government. The coalition under Adenauer was renewed again in 1962, but on the condition that he resign in October 1963. This also happened, and Ludwig Erhard became the new chancellor. This, in turn, was the reason for Erich Mende to enter the cabinet: he took over the rather insignificant Federal Ministry for All-German Questions .
In the federal elections of 1965 , the FDP gained 9.5 percent. The coalition with the CDU broke up in 1966 over the issue of tax increases, and a grand coalition between the CDU and SPD followed. A change of course was also in the offing in the opposition: the previous foreign policy and also the attitude towards the eastern territories were discussed. The delegates elected Walter Scheel as the new chairman in 1968 , a European-oriented Liberal who, although he came from the national-liberal camp, led the new center of the party with Willi Weyer and Hans-Dietrich Genscher . This center tried to make the FDP capable of forming a coalition with both major parties. The Liberals, in particular, drew closer to the SPD through their reorientation in Eastern and German politics.
1969–1982: time in the social-liberal coalition
After the federal elections in 1969 , the period of a social- liberal coalition with the SPD and Chancellor Willy Brandt began on October 21 . It was Walter Scheel who introduced the change in foreign policy. Despite a very narrow majority, he and Willy Brandt pushed through the controversial New Ostpolitik . This policy was quite controversial within the FDP, especially since entry into the federal government was followed by defeats in the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia , Lower Saxony and Saarland on June 14, 1970. In Hanover and Saarbrücken , the party left the state parliament.
After the federal party conference in Bonn only a week later had supported the policies of the party leadership and confirmed Scheel in office, party rights around Siegfried Zoglmann founded a "non-partisan" association called Nationalliberale Aktion on July 11, 1970 in Hohensyburg with the aim of promoting the left-liberal course of the to end the party and overthrow Scheel. However, this did not work. Zoglmann supported an opposition motion of censure against Treasury Secretary Alex Möller in October 1970 ; Erich Mende and Heinz Starke did the same. A little later, all three declared their withdrawal from the FDP; Mende and Starke joined the CDU, Zoglmann later founded the German Union , which did not go beyond the status of a splinter party.
The foreign policy and socio-political turnaround was put on a theoretical basis in 1971 by the Freiburg Theses , which were sold several hundred thousand times as a Rowohlt paperback, in which the FDP committed itself to “social liberalism” and social reforms. Walter Scheel was initially foreign minister and vice-chancellor , and in 1974 he became the second liberal federal president , paving the way within the party for the previous interior minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher. From 1969 to 1974, the FDP supported Chancellor Willy Brandt, after which it ruled alongside Helmut Schmidt .
In 1977 another programmatic change took place. The Freiburg Theses were replaced by the Kiel Theses , which contained a departure from social-liberal issues. The party increasingly turned to economic liberalism and positioned itself as a corrective to the economic and social policies of the left wing of the SPD. As early as the late 1970s, the consensus between the FDP and SPD no longer seemed sufficient for a coalition, but Franz Josef Strauss ’s candidacy for chancellor for the CDU/CSU in the 1980 federal elections , which both sides rejected, welded the SPD and FDP together again. The social-liberal coalition was finally reconfirmed, also because of a strong election result for the FDP (10.6%). However, the FDP saw more and more the differences to the SPD, especially in economic policy. In terms of the NATO double-track decision , Chancellor Schmidt had his own SPD less and less behind him. Contradictions within the FDP also grew.
Soon after the government was formed in 1980, the rifts between the two coalition partners became increasingly apparent. In the summer of 1981, FDP party leader Hans-Dietrich Genscher indirectly called on the SPD to make a necessary change in policy in a letter to the FDP members. At this time Hans-Dietrich Genscher also met for secret talks with the CDU chairman Helmut Kohl . On September 9, 1982, FDP Economics Minister Otto Graf Lambsdorff published an economic policy concept that was incompatible with SPD demands and was described as a "separation paper". Finally, on September 17, 1982, the coalition officially broke up: Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt declared that he had lost political confidence in his coalition partner. As a result, all FDP ministers resigned, preventing the chancellor from dismissing them. The social-liberal coalition ended after 13 years of government. On October 1, i.e. around two weeks later, the CDU/CSU parliamentary group and the FDP parliamentary group in the German Bundestag initiated a constructive vote of no confidence , as a result of which Helmut Kohl was elected the new Federal Chancellor and Helmut Schmidt’s time came to an end after eight years .
1982–1990: Black-yellow coalition, economic reorientation and reunification
On October 1, 1982, the FDP, together with the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, elected CDU party leader Helmut Kohl as the new Federal Chancellor (→ Wende (Federal Republic of Germany) ). The change of coalition resulted in fierce internal disputes, so the FDP then lost over 20 percent of its 86,500 members, which was also reflected in the federal elections in 1983 (fall from 10.6 percent to 7.0 percent). Most of the members went over to the SPD , the Greens and newly founded small parties such as the left-liberal Liberal Democrats (LD) . Among the resigning members was the then FDP General Secretary and later EU Commissioner Günter Verheugen . At the party conference in November 1982, Schleswig-Holstein state chairman Uwe Ronneburger took on Hans-Dietrich Genscher as party chairman. Ronneburger received 186 of the votes cast - around 40 percent - and was only narrowly defeated.
Young FDP members who did not agree with the policies of the former FDP youth organization Young Democrats had already founded the Young Liberals (JuLis) in 1980. Both youth organizations existed side by side for a while until the JuLis prevailed as a result of reunification and became the new official youth organization of the FDP. The Young Democrats separated from the FDP and became a party-independent left-wing youth association.
During the period of reunification , the FDP pursued the goal of a special economic area in the former GDR , but was unable to assert itself against the CDU/CSU, since they wanted to prevent any loss of votes in the five new federal states in the 1990 federal elections .
During the political upheavals of 1989/1990, new liberal parties emerged in the GDR, such as the FDP of the GDR or the German Forum Party . They formed the League of Free Democrats (BFD) with the LDPD , which had previously worked as a block party alongside the SED and, in Manfred Gerlach , also provided the last chair of the GDR 's Council of State. In the years that followed, there were considerable internal discussions within the FDP about how to deal with the former block party. Even before the reunification of Germany, a unification party conference from 11.-12. August 1990 in Hanover , the West German FDP with the parties of the BFD and the former block party NDPD to the first all-German party. At that time, the Eastern parties involved had 135,000 members (due to the generally higher degree of organization in the GDR), the West FDP only 65,485. In order to prevent the East German members from dominating, the delegate key was changed and the influence of the electorate was upgraded compared to the number of members. However, the massive increase in membership only lasted for a short time, and most of the former block party members quickly resigned. The FDP "inherited" assets of 6.3 million DM in cash and real estate from the LDPD and NDPD.
The FDP did well in the first state elections in the new federal states, especially in Saxony-Anhalt (15.7 percent). With the exception of Saxony, she was then involved in the government in all of the new federal states, mostly in CDU-FDP coalitions, in Brandenburg in a “traffic light” with the SPD and Bündnis 90. In the first all-German federal election , the CDU/CSU-FDP Coalition confirmed, the FDP got 11.0 percent of the valid votes (79 seats), doing slightly better in the new states than in the old ones. In Halle (Saale) - Genscher's hometown - the FDP won its first direct mandate since 1957.
1990–2001: Losses at the state level and beginning of the opposition period at the federal level
After its success in the federal elections in 1990, the FDP returned to the state parliament after the state elections in Schleswig-Holstein in 1992 and was thus represented in all 16 state parliaments at the same time for the first time.
However, particularly in the second half of the 1990s, the FDP had to contend with a series of electoral defeats at local and state level, which meant that it fell out of twelve of the 16 state parliaments and the European Parliament in the period 1993-1995. She was mockingly called "lady without abdomen". In the period from the election to the Berlin House of Representatives in 1995 to the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2000 , it was only represented in the state parliaments of Hesse , Rhineland-Palatinate , Baden-Württemberg and Schleswig-Holstein and until 1999 only in the state governments of Rhineland- Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg involved.
This series of electoral defeats culminated in the 1998 Bundestag elections , in which she got 6.2 percent of the votes, her second-worst Bundestag election result ever, and after 29 years of permanent government participation she had to rejoin the opposition for the first time. In 1999, the party moved from the Thomas Dehler House in Bonn to the Hans Dietrich Genscher House in Berlin when the seat of government was relocated .
2001-2009: Opposition period chaired by Guido Westerwelle
In 2000, the FDP managed to return to the North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament. When Guido Westerwelle , who was more than 18 years younger than Wolfgang Gerhardt , was elected party chairman at a federal party conference on May 4, 2001 , a generation change began in the FDP. At the same party congress, it also adopted a new logo and from then on dispensed with the dots between the three letters of the abbreviation used since 1968 - in contrast to other parties.
In the 2002 federal election campaign , the FDP campaigned with “ Projekt 18 ”, an election campaign strategy that was intended to increase the proportion of voters from 6 to 18 percent. This was essentially developed by Jürgen Möllemann 's campaign advisor Fritz Goergen . This strategy also included the party nominating its own candidate for chancellor, Guido Westerwelle, for the first time. In doing so, it wanted to emphasize its independence from the two large mainstream parties and counteract the widespread perception that it was merely creating a majority for other parties. She also wanted to appeal to younger voters with an unconventional, pop-culture campaign. Westerwelle drove through the country in a motor home painted blue and yellow, known as the "Guidomobil", wore shoes with the number 18 under the sole and appeared as a guest on the then controversial TV show Big Brother . The FDP was perceived as a " fun party ". In opinion polls before the elections, the FDP reached 10 to 13 percent.
At the same time, North Rhine-Westphalian state chairman Jürgen Möllemann served right-wing populist tendencies during this time by taking positions critical of Israel in the Middle East conflict , including Jamal Karsli , a member of the state parliament who had left the Greens because of vehemently anti-Israel and anti-Zionist statements, in the FDP parliamentary group and representatives of the Verbally attacked the Central Council of Jews in Germany . Critics, including those from his own party, accused Möllemann of appealing to latent anti-Semitism. A few days before the general election, Möllemann had a leaflet printed with a circulation of more than eight million and distributed to all households in North Rhine-Westphalia, the text of which again attacked Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Deputy Head of the Central Council of Jews Michel Friedman . The "Grande Dame" and former presidential candidate of the Free Democrats Hildegard Hamm-Brücher then left her party after more than fifty years of membership, as she found the demarcation of party chairman Westerwelle from Möllemann's attempts to be insufficient.
With a first vote result of 5.8 percent and 7.4 percent for the second vote, the FDP improved its election results compared to the previous federal elections, but it clearly missed its officially declared target of 18 percent of the votes, which is partly attributed to the "Möllemann affair". would. In the Bundestag, it was the fourth strongest force and, contrary to all expectations, was behind the Greens. Möllemann himself was losing more and more support in the FDP and with his resignation in March 2003 he forestalled a decision by the party executive to exclude him from the party .
In the European elections in Germany in 2004 , the FDP achieved its best European election result to date with 6.1 percent and, after ten years of abstinence, returned to the European Parliament with the top candidate Silvana Koch- Mehrin . It provided seven MEPs within the ALDE group, the third strongest force in the European Parliament. Koch- Mehrin took over the chairmanship of the FDP delegation and also the deputy chairmanship of the ALDE parliamentary group.
In the early Bundestag elections on September 18, 2005 , the FDP received 9.8 percent of the second votes, making it the third strongest force in the German Bundestag for the first time since 1990. The FDP was the largest opposition faction during the legislative period, after it had fundamentally ruled out a theoretically possible traffic light coalition with the SPD and the Greens and exploratory talks with the Union and the Greens about a Jamaica coalition had failed. Party chairman Westerwelle took over the office of parliamentary group chairman from Wolfgang Gerhardt and became opposition leader .
In the 2009 European elections , the FDP was able to almost double its 2004 result and, with its lead candidate for the European elections, Silvana Koch-Überin, provided 12 members of the European Parliament. As a result, Koch-Überin became one of a total of 14 Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament .
In the 2009 federal election , the FDP again achieved its best result in federal elections, with Guido Westerwelle as the top candidate, with 14.6 percent and won 93 out of 622 seats in the German Bundestag. After the 2009 state elections , the FDP was also represented in all state parliaments with the exception of the Hamburg Parliament and was involved in eight state governments, namely in Baden-Württemberg ( Oettinger II cabinet ), Bavaria ( Seehofer I cabinet ), Hesse ( Koch III cabinet ), and Lower Saxony ( Wulff II cabinet ), North Rhine-Westphalia ( Rüttgers cabinet ), Saxony ( Tillich II cabinet ), Schleswig-Holstein ( Carstensen II cabinet ) and in Saarland ( Müller III cabinet ).
2009-2013: Black-yellow coalition in the federal government and losses in the states
Coalition negotiations with the CDU and the CSU led to the conclusion of a coalition agreement on October 26, 2009 . After the re-election of Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 28, 2009, five FDP federal ministers were elected: Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle , Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger , the first FDP Health Minister Philipp Rösler , Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle and Development Minister Dirk Niebel Cabinet Merkel II sworn in. The FDP was thus represented with such a high proportion in the federal cabinet as never before.
A few months after the 2009 general election , the party lost a lot of support. Approval fell from a record of just under 15% at the end of September 2009 to 5% in June 2010. Before the CDU took power in 2009, many believed that a black-yellow coalition would be a good fit, but after the coalition agreement, which was negotiated in record time, there was a split between different wings by the CDU, CSU and FDP on many topics, for example tax cuts, the future of nuclear energy , the health premium for health insurance, Turkey's EU accession and unemployment benefit II . In addition, the party's reputation suffered from donations with incorrectly declared origins and the reduction in the sales tax rate for hotel accommodation , which was publicly interpreted as clientele policy for the Mövenpick hotel group .
In the only state election of 2010, which took place in North Rhine-Westphalia , the FDP remained stable, but due to the high losses of the CDU, the black-yellow coalition in the state lost its majority and both parties went into opposition. After the general election in Hamburg on February 20, 2011 , the FDP was again represented in all 16 state parliaments. Just one month later, after the state elections in Saxony-Anhalt , this Germany-wide representation in the state parliaments ended. However, the party was still involved in seven state governments at that time.
After the FDP was no longer able to enter the state parliament in the state elections in Rhineland-Palatinate in March 2011 and was pushed into the opposition by a green-red majority in the state elections in Baden-Württemberg in 2011 , Guido Westerwelle announced before the federal party conference on 13th to 15th May 2011 announced that it would no longer be a candidate for the federal party presidency. At this party congress, Philipp Rösler was elected as Westerwelle's successor. In the course of a cabinet reshuffle on May 12, 2011, Rösler had already taken over the office of Federal Minister of Economics and Technology and Guido Westerwelle took over the position of Vice Chancellor , while Daniel Bahr succeeded him as Federal Minister of Health. The previous Federal Minister of Economics, Rainer Brüderle, was elected chairman of the FDP parliamentary group on the same day.
In May 2011, Silvana Koch-mehrin resigned from her position as Vice-President of the EU Parliament and from all party offices because of a plagiarism scandal surrounding her doctoral thesis. However, Koch-Überin exercised her mandate as a member of the European Parliament until the end of the 2014 parliamentary term. Alexander Graf Lambsdorff became the new chairman of the FDP delegation in the EU Parliament . Also in May 2011, the FDP failed in the 2011 general election in Bremen with 2.4% of the votes at the five percent hurdle .
In September 2011, the FDP lost a lot of votes in the 2011 state elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and missed entering parliament with 2.7 percent of the votes. In the same month, the elections to the Berlin House of Representatives took place, in which the FDP clearly failed to re-enter with only 1.8 percent of the votes.
On January 6, 2012, Prime Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer dissolved the Saarland coalition of CDU, FDP and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, which had existed since 2009, before the end of the legislative period. In Kramp-Karrenbauer's statement it was said that the "dissensions within the FDP Saar that have been going on for months " were decisive for the termination.
In the subsequent elections to the Saarland state parliament, the FDP received only 1.2 percent of the votes, so that they were also eliminated. This was the FDP's worst result in a West German state since its inception. In May 2012, on the other hand, the FDP was able to achieve unexpectedly strong results in the early state elections in Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia with 8.2 and 8.6 percent, respectively, and thus secured its state parliament representation there for another five years. However, in both countries an SPD-led government took over the official business and the FDP went into the opposition. In the state elections in Lower Saxony in 2013 , the FDP gained 1.7 percentage points to 9.9 percent, which federal chairman Philipp Rösler was credited with as a success in his home state. At the same time, the black-yellow coalition lost the state parliament majority to a red-green coalition, so that the FDP left the state government after ten years.
2013-2014: Resignation from the Bundestag and several state parliaments
In the 2013 Bavarian state elections, which took place a week before the federal elections , the FDP failed to pass the 5 percent hurdle , thereby losing its parliamentary representation and subsequently withdrawing from the Bavarian state government. A week later, the Bundestag and the Hessian state parliament were elected. While the FDP in Hesse, with 5.0 percent, just overcame the electoral threshold, it failed in federal elections for the first time with 4.8 percent and left parliament. In Hesse, the black-yellow coalition that had existed until then could not be continued. After that, the FDP was still represented in nine state parliaments and only in the government in Saxony.
As a consequence of leaving the Bundestag, the party executive of the FDP resigned as a whole. As a result, an extraordinary party congress was convened between December 6 and 8, 2013, at which a new presidium was elected and the causes of the election defeat were analyzed. Christian Lindner was elected the new party chairman . He called on members to rebuild the party "from the bottom up" from now on. He also criticized the "second vote campaign" and warned against turning away from the previous European policy.
The FDP parliamentary group chairmen's conference , the merger of the chairmen of the liberal parliamentary groups in the federal states and the group in the European Parliament, adopted the model of a modern social market economy and an active civil society in its Stuttgart declaration on October 2, 2013 in an effort to contrast state-fixated politics the tasks of the parliamentary group in the rebuilding of the party.
At the European Party Conference on January 19, 2014 in Bonn, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff was elected the top candidate for the 2014 European elections. The FDP had to accept significant losses of 7.6 percentage points and achieved its second worst result in a European election with 3.4 percent, but sent three MPs to the European Parliament due to the abolition of the threshold clause .
In the state elections in Saxony , Thuringia and Brandenburg in 2014, the FDP was unable to clear the five percent hurdle in any of the states and was therefore only represented in six state parliaments in October 2014. With the completion of the formation of the government in Saxony in November 2014, the FDP's last government participation at the state level ended. For the first time in the history of the Federal Republic, the FDP was not involved in any state government, which means that it was no longer able to influence federal politics through the Bundesrat .
This situation could only be ended on May 18, 2016, when the FDP in Rhineland-Palatinate returned to the state parliament there as a result of the state elections in March 2016 and formed a joint state government together with the SPD and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen .
The party researcher Oskar Niedermayer saw the FDP in an "existential crisis" after the missed re-entry into the Bundestag, since the party found it difficult to be perceived in federal politics. According to Federal Treasurer Hermann Otto Solms , the party's expenses had to be reduced by around 40 percent because it was elected from several parliaments and therefore received fewer government party funding grants.
Initiated by mostly former politicians of the Hamburg FDP , the Neue Liberale party was founded in September 2014 , which as a left-liberal alternative wanted to oust the FDP. However, when it first took part in the Hamburg state elections in February 2015 , the new party remained a small party with 0.5 percent of the vote .
Since 2015: Gains at state level and re-entry into the Bundestag
In the state elections in Hamburg on February 15, 2015, the FDP, with top candidate Katja Suding , managed to re-enter the state parliament with 7.4 percent of the votes, surpassing the previous result by 0.7 percent.
In the state elections in Bremen on May 10, 2015, the FDP, with its top candidate Lencke Steiner , managed to get the best result in 20 years with 6.6 percent and to be represented again in the state parliament. Compared to the previous election, the FDP gained 4.4 percentage points and was thus represented in seven state parliaments.
In the state elections in Baden-Württemberg , Saxony-Anhalt and Rhineland-Palatinate on 13 March 2016, it improved in all three state elections. In Baden-Württemberg, she re-entered the state parliament with 8.3 percent of the votes and received 6.2 percent of the votes in Rhineland-Palatinate. In Saxony-Anhalt, they just missed moving back in with 4.9 percent.
Since the red-green coalition in Rhineland-Palatinate lost its majority, successful negotiations were held on the formation of a traffic light coalition . On May 9, 2016, the state party conference of the FDP in Rhineland-Palatinate approved the coalition agreement with the SPD and the Greens with 82 percent of the votes. Since May 18, 2016, the FDP has been involved in a state government for the first time since October 2014 and has appointed Volker Wissing as the deputy prime minister. Although the FDP failed to get into the state parliament of Schwerin on September 4, 2016 in the state elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania with 3.0 percent, it was able to gain percentage and absolute figures here as well. In the parliamentary elections in Berlin on September 18, 2016, the FDP returned to the House of Representatives with 6.7 percent.
In the state elections in Saarland in 2017 , the FDP failed to re-enter the state parliament with 3.3 percent of the votes, but was able to record significant gains both in percentage terms and in terms of votes. The latter also applied to the state elections in Schleswig-Holstein in 2017 , where the party achieved a double-digit election result for the first time and is almost level with the Greens as the fourth strongest force in the state parliament and is part of the Jamaica coalition there . Her performance was even better shortly afterwards in the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2017 : Here she was not only elected by far the third strongest party in the state parliament with 12.6 percent, she also achieved her best result in the history of the state and is now Part of the state government of the most populous federal state .
In the 2017 federal election , the FDP managed to re-enter the Bundestag with a second vote result of 10.7 percent after a four-year absence. The party then entered into exploratory talks with the Union parties (CDU/CSU) and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen . After four weeks of negotiations, the FDP withdrew from the talks because, according to party leader Lindner, it had not been possible to develop a "common idea of the modernization of the country" or a "common basis of trust". As a result, the grand coalition was renewed under Chancellor Angela Merkel . In the state elections in Lower Saxony in 2017 , the FDP had to record percentage losses in an election for the first time since 2015.
From February 5 to 8, 2020, the FDP provided Thomas Kemmerich as Prime Minister of Thuringia. The election triggered a nationwide echo, as it also took place with the votes of the AfD and, after Kemmerich's resignation, led to the government crisis in Thuringia in 2020 . In the previous state election, the FDP had surpassed the five percent hurdle with just 73 votes and thus narrowly made it into the state parliament, which led to particular criticism of Prime Minister Kemmerich's election. Also under the impression of the highly controversial election of Kemmerich on the basis of AfD support, the FDP failed in the 2020 Hamburg state election with 4.96 percent at the five percent hurdle and missed there for the first time since the state election in Hamburg in 2008 as a parliamentary group re-entering the state parliament . However, she is still represented in the citizenship with a constituency mandate from the Blankenese constituency .
In the Baden-Württemberg state elections in March 2021, the FDP won (10.5%), but had to remain in the opposition. In the state elections held on the same day in Rhineland-Palatinate , the FDP lost slightly (5.5%), but nevertheless remained part of the state government in the form of a traffic light coalition under Prime Minister Malu Dreyer . In the state elections in Saxony-Anhalt in June 2021, the FDP returned to the state parliament after ten years of abstinence with 6.4% of the votes. In the 2021 federal election , the party not only managed a slight increase to 11.5% of the votes, but also defended a double-digit federal election result for the first time. She then took part in the first traffic light alliance at federal level under Chancellor Olaf Scholz . The FDP also made gains in the parallel state elections in Berlin and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, returning to the state parliament in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania after ten years with 5.8% of the votes.
- The Liberals: Founding Program of the German Progressive Party (June 9, 1861)
- Founding Program of the National Liberal Party (June 12, 1867)
- Program of the German Progressive Party (November 25, 1878)
- Liberal Association : Declaration of the Liberal Secessionists (30 August 1880)
- Founding Program of the German Liberal Party (March 5, 1884)
- Party manifesto of the Liberal Association (May 6, 1893)
- Program of the Progressive People's Party (March 6, 1910)
- Party manifesto of the German People's Party (December 15, 1918–1933)
- Program of the German Democratic Party (November 20, 1918–1933)
- Program of the Radical Democratic Party (November 20, 1918–1933)
- Founding appeal of the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDPD, 1945)
Heppenheim Proclamation of the FDP (1948)
- Party program (LDPD, 1949)
- Bremen Platform (1949)
- Treaty and Ostpolitik ("Pfleiderer Plan", 1952)
Berlin program (1957)
- Memorandum on the German Question (“Schollwer Paper”, 1962)
- Reorganization of old-age provision (“Mischnick Plan”, 1963)
- Germany and Foreign Policy (“Schollwer Paper”, 1967)
- Program of Action ("Goals of Progress", 1967)
Freiburg theses on the social policy of the FDP (1971)
- Stuttgart Guidelines for a Liberal Education Policy (1972)
- Thesis paper (“Free Church in the Free State”, 1974)
Kiel Theses of the FDP (1977)
- Equality Program (1978)
- Genscher letter (1981)
- Thesis paper “Concept for a policy to overcome weak growth” (“Lambsdorff Paper”, 1982)
The Liberal Manifesto ("Future Chance Freedom. Liberal Manifesto for a Society in Transition", 1985)
- Liberal Action Program Europe (1987)
- Thesis paper “Courage instead of discontent – for a liberal Germany” (“Lambsdorff paper”, 1992)
- Guidelines for liberal local politics (1993)
- The program of the liberal parties in the final phase of the GDR:
- Statement “What does the LDPD want? Goals of the GDR Liberals" ( LDPD , 1989)
- Program ( German Forum Party , 1990)
- Liberal Manifesto ( Free Democratic Party of the GDR , 1990)
- Call for elections to the Volkskammer ( League of Free Democrats , 1990)
- Election program for the Volkskammer elections (LDP in the League of Free Democrats, 1990)
- " Wiesbaden Principles . For liberal civil society” (1997)
Karlsruhe freedom theses (“Responsibility for freedom. Karlsruhe freedom theses of the FDP for an open civil society.”, 2012)
- Citizens Program (2013)
- Stuttgart Declaration (2013)
- Berlin Manifesto "More opportunities through more freedom: projects for a republic of opportunities" (2015)
The Free Democratic Party has the legal form of a registered association. It is divided into 16 state associations and had a total of around 65,500 members at the end of 2019. The FDP North Rhine-Westphalia alone accounted for around 16,000 of these members. As of September 2021, membership has grown to 75,000. The party had the highest number of members in 1981 with around 87,000 and in 1990 (due to German reunification ) with around 180,000 members.
The FDP is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and the Liberal International . In the European Parliament , she is a member of the Renew Europe group, in which she has five MEPs. With a total of 97 seats, the Renew Europe Group accounts for 13.76 percent of MEPs (as of May 2021).
The FDP federal board leads the federal party. It decides on all organizational and political questions in terms of the resolutions of the federal party conference and the ALDE party congress .
The following list contains the data for the individual national associations.
In Saarland, the FDP state association has the addition Democratic Party Saar (FDP/DPS). In Baden-Württemberg, the parliamentary group of the FDP carries the suffix Democratic People's Party (FDP/DVP) from a more than 70-year tradition. In Berlin there are no district associations, instead the regional party work is taken over by the district associations.
The members of the Internet national association FDP LV Net are currently still listed as direct federal members, since they have not yet been formally anchored as the 17th national association. Outside of Germany, there are local branches in Barcelona, Brussels, London, Moscow, Paris, Vienna and Zurich with a total of 465 members, who are combined in the FDP's European foreign group.
Front organizations of the FDP
The following nationwide front organizations are recognized by the FDP:
- Young Liberals (JuLis)
- Liberal Academics (VLA)
- Liberal Doctors (VLÄ)
- Liberal Women (LiF)
- Liberal University Groups (LHG)
- Liberal Lawyers (VLJ)
- Liberal Local Politicians (VLK)
- Liberal Middle Class (LiM)
- Liberal Gays and Lesbians (LiSL)
- Liberal Seniors (LiS)
- Liberal Turkish-German Union (LTD)
The first party headquarters of the FDP was located at Moltkestraße 5 in the Bad Godesberg district of Bonn from June 1950 . In November 1956, the FDP moved into the building of a former mental hospital at Bonner Talweg 57 in the southern part of the city . Since April 1976, the federal office of the FDP was based in a property at Baunscheidtstrasse 15 near the railway line on the left bank of the Rhine, which was rented out by the SPD . In June 1993, after a construction period of one and a half years, the FDP moved to the newly built Thomas-Dehler-Haus at Willy-Brandt-Allee 20 in the federal district , about 500 meters to the north . Since July 1999, the federal office of the FDP has been in the Hans-Dietrich-Genscher-Haus (until March 2017: Thomas-Dehler-Haus ) at Reinhardtstraße 14 in Berlin-Mitte .
The party newspaper of the FDP has been called fdplus since the 3rd edition in 2016 . Previously she called herself elde ( Liberal D epesche , pronunciation of the letters LD). She appeared five times in 2012. Since 2013, elde has also been available in the AppStore and Google Play as well as an ISSUU application.
Archive of the FDP
The archives of all organs and committees of the FDP (especially at federal and state level), many liberal front organizations and numerous liberal personalities (including Thomas Dehler, Wolfgang Mischnick, Hans-Dietrich Genscher) are located in the Archive of Liberalism of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for the freedom in Gummersbach .
The Dahrendorf circle , which was initiated at the end of 2010 and named after the sociologist Ralf Dahrendorf , represents left-liberal positions and advocates a thematic expansion of the FDP and communication of a broad range of topics beyond economic liberal topics. His supporters include former members of the European Parliament Nadja Hirsch and Alexander Alvaro , and former members of the Bundestag Miriam Gruß and Sebastian Körber .
The Schaumburg Circle represents liberal-conservative business interests in the FDP. Well-known members are Detlef Kleinert , Rainer Brüderle , Hermann Otto Solms , Patrick Döring , and Stefan Ruppert .
Liberale Aufbruch describes itself as a representative of classical liberal approaches. He advocated compliance with liberal regulatory policies and sees them violated in the current government actions. Supporters included Frank Schäffler , member of the Bundestag, Holger Krahmer , former MEP, and Carlos Gebauer . The Liberal Awakening is now inactive.
The Libertarian Platform represents libertarianism and is mainly based on the Austrian School . Their representatives demand a strict minimum state that is limited to the judiciary, police and military. There are also isolated anarcho-capitalists in the tradition of Hans-Hermann Hoppe . The wing is not particularly active.
Liberal Offensive and National Liberals
Until the late 1960s, the FDP had a strong national - liberal character. In later times there were repeated efforts to revive this current in the party. In 1995, for example, the liberal offensive in the FDP was formed around Alexander von Stahl , Achim Rohde , Rainer Zitelmann , Klaus Rainer Röhl and Heiner Kappel . Some of the followers of this group joined the Bund Freier Bürger in 1998. The short-lived Stresemann Club , led by Sven Tritschler , has existed since 2009 as a national-liberal network within the FDP. With the rise of the AfD , many right-wing liberals switched parties. The wing was therefore temporarily less active, represented by a few national liberals who remained in the FDP, such as the above-mentioned Rohde and Zitelmann, Holger Zastrow and Thomas Kemmerich . In the election of Thomas Kemmerich as Prime Minister in Thuringia on February 5, 2020 and the subsequent government crisis, some observers saw a resurgence of the right-wing and national-liberal current in the FDP.
shareholdings and real estate
The house and property of the party is valued at 2.8 million euros. The FDP holds shares in companies worth around four million euros.
The FDP holds shares in the following companies:
- Reinhardtstrassenhöfe GmbH & Co. KG in Bonn at 33.33 percent with equity of (−25,400,000) euros
- Reinhardtstrassenhöfe Verwaltungs-GmbH in Siegburg, in which the FDP holds 33 percent
- Universum Verlag GmbH, 50 percent
- Universum Kommunikation und Medien AG, 50 percent
- liberal Verlag GmbH Berlin, 50 percent
- Naatz+Partner Product Service GmbH Idstein, 13 percent.
Completely owned by the FDP:
- The LIBERAL Vermögensverwaltungsgesellschaft mbH in Bonn
- Liberal Economic Services GmbH, Düsseldorf
- Lower Saxony GmbH, Hanover
- Universum GmbH, Wiesbaden
- ProLogo Society for Event Organization mbH, Bonn.
cash flows and net worth
In 2019, the FDP had income of 38,027,729.86 euros, of which around 15.4 million euros came from state funds, around 12.6 million euros from membership fees and elected officials’ fees and almost 8.0 million euros from donations. 4.7 percent of the party's income came from donations from companies and other legal entities .
|R&W Industrial Holdings GmbH||€100,000.00|
|Association of the Metal and Electrical Industry Baden-Württemberg e. V||€100,000.00|
|WI Bad Woerishofen GmbH||€100,000.00|
|Association of the Bavarian Metal and Electrical Industry e. V||€60,000.00|
|Deutsche Vermögensberatung AG||€53,000.00|
|Ralph Dommermuth GmbH & Co. KG investment company||€48,000.00|
|Association of the Metal and Electrical Industry North Rhine-Westphalia e. V||€45,000.00|
|HUSKELAPP asset management company||€40,000.00|
|PRS Family Trust Ltd||€40,000.00|
|Association of the Chemical Industry e. V||€37,000.00|
|Airbus Defense and Space GmbH||€30,000.00|
|GHD GesundHeits GmbH Germany||€25,000.00|
|Peper & Sons GmbH||€23,023.53|
|HBDS Management Company Ltd||€21,500.00|
|Allianz Deutschland AG||€20,000.00|
|Evonik Industries AG||€20,000.00|
|HESTESKO asset management company||€20,000.00|
|Minera fuels – Mineralölwerk Rempel GmbH||€20,000.00|
|Robert Bosch GMBH||€20,000.00|
|Savarpa Immobilien GmbH||€20,000.00|
|dr Theiss Naturwaren GmbH||€19,900.00|
|Accentro Real Estate AG||€15,000.00|
|dr August Oetker KG||€15,000.00|
|ERGO Group Ltd||€15,000.00|
|Munich Reinsurance Company AG||€15,000.00|
|Philip Morris Ltd||€15,000.00|
|Koch KG roof, wall and sealing technology||€13,600.00|
|OSTON RE Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH||€12,000.00|
In 2019, the FDP was able to achieve a surplus of EUR 2,986,141.10. The liabilities of around 21.3 million euros were offset by claims of around 39.7 million euros, so that the party as a whole had net assets of almost 18.4 million euros.
Donation from Substantia AG
In 2008 and 2009, the FDP received four donations from Substantia AG totaling 1.1 million euros, which it reported to the Bundestag administration within a week in accordance with the regulations on party financing. Substantia AG belongs to the Finck family, which is also the majority shareholder of the Mövenpick Group, which operates nine hotels in Germany. The donations mentioned were criticized from various quarters , who argued that there was a connection between the payments and the reduction in sales tax for the accommodation industry through the so-called Growth Acceleration Act – also called the “Mövenpick Act” in the press. As a result, the FDP was sometimes mockingly referred to as the "Mövenpick Party". The FDP itself opposed this designation on the grounds that in the past many tourism politicians from all parties represented in the Bundestag had called for a corresponding tax reduction.
Donations under Möllemann
At the beginning of July 2009, the President of the German Bundestag issued a sanction notice to the FDP, according to which the FDP had to pay a total of EUR 4,336,648.79 to the Bundestag. In the opinion of the President of the Bundestag, it was determined in a multi-year process that under the former North Rhine-Westphalian state chairman Jürgen Möllemann , of the Political Parties Act had been violated , in that the origin of donations amounting to around 785,000 euros was disguised by denominations and false information on the donor names may be. The true origin of the donations could not be clarified. Further donations worth more than half a million euros in the form of campaign measures such as poster and advertising campaigns were not properly published in the party's annual report, in violation of of the Party Act. The FDP raised an objection to the sanction notice. She does not rate the events as violations of the party law. In addition, she sees herself being treated more strictly than other parties. In December 2009, the Berlin Administrative Court dismissed the lawsuit against the Bundestag's penalty notice and ordered the party to pay a fine of 3.46 million euros. The Higher Administrative Court confirmed this decision in November 2011. At the end of April 2013, the Federal Administrative Court declared that at least two million euros. For the remainder (approx. 1.4 million euros), the matter was referred back to the Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative Court for lack of sufficient factual findings.
attitude towards donation transparency
Together with the CDU/CSU, the FDP rejected the proposals of the Group of States against Corruption ( GRECO ) of December 2009 for more transparency in party donations in Germany in the 17th electoral term of the German Bundestag .
In 2019, the Young Liberals received public grants totaling 599,480.66 euros. In 2007, the federal and state foundations of the FDP together received donations of around 25 million euros.
elections and mandates
|federal election results|
|year||number of votes||vote share||+/−||seats||top candidate|
|1949||2,829,920||11.9%||11.9%||Theodor Heuss and Franz Blucher|
|1976||2,995,085||7.9%||0.5%||Hans Dietrich Genscher|
|1980||4,030,999||10.6%||2.7%||Hans Dietrich Genscher|
|1983||2,706,942||7.0%||3.6%||Hans Dietrich Genscher|
|1990||5,123,233||11.0%||1.9%||Otto Graf Lambsdorff|
|2002||3,538,815||7.4%||1.2%||Guido Westerwelle 1|
1 top candidate at the same time candidate for chancellor
European election results since 1979
|European election results|
|year||number of votes||vote share||+/−||seats||top candidate|
|1989||1,576,715||5.6%||0.8%||Ruediger von Wechmar|
|2004||1,565,431||6.1%||3.1%||Silvana Koch Mehrin|
|2009||2,888,084||11.0%||4.9%||Silvana Koch Mehrin|
|2014||986,841||3.4%||7.6%||Alexander Graf Lambsdorff|
1 represented by a non-attached member of parliament in Bremerhaven due to exceeding the threshold clause 2 election without threshold clause 3 no parliamentary group represented, but entry via a direct mandate 4 temporarily represented by Thomas Kemmerich in the government
|Represented in Parliament|
|Represented in government|
|bold : Best result in this state or in the federal government since 1949|
|italics : Worst result in this state or federal government since 1949|
|federal state||election result||year||Members of Parliament||of which female||municipal mandates||member of parliament|
|Schleswig Holstein||11.5%||2017||9||2||38 1||4|
1 only district councils and urban districts
As of December 26, 2016
Otto Graf Lambsdorff
Karl Hermann Flach
since 2021 (acting)
Group leader in the German Bundestag
Vice President of the German Bundestag
Dieter Julius Cronenberg
Hermann Otto Solms
Theodor Heuss held the office of President from September 12, 1949 to September 12, 1959 and was also the first Federal President. Walter Scheel was Federal President from July 1, 1974 to June 30, 1979. During the presidency, his membership in the FDP was suspended.
Subsequent FDP members were deputies to the Federal Chancellor .
October 17, 1963 to
October 28, 1966
May 16, 1974 to
September 17, 1982 and
October 4, 1982 to
May 18, 1992
May 18, 1992 to
January 21, 1993
January 21, 1993 to
October 27, 1998
October 28, 2009 to
May 16, 2011
May 16, 2011 to
December 17, 2013
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