FThings weren’t good for the FDP in the weeks leading up to the elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, but they are reasonably certain: they will likely return to the state parliament, but with a score well below 12 percent than in the previous election. . Early on Sunday afternoon, the result is still like this election, but then it goes quickly and sharply up the hills toward the five percent mark. In the evening, the LDP must first worry about whether to return to the state parliament.
Polling stations were closed for more than an hour before party chief Christian Lindner made a public statement. He talks about a “disastrous defeat” for his party. It did not take advantage of the fact that she was involved in judging in Dusseldorf. “This is a very sad evening for us.” He recalls being nominated in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 2012 and 2017 and says he is now thinking about his teammates. “Cheer up!” He said to them. “Liberal Democrats win together and lose together.” It’s a particularly difficult situation for Lindner. He has been the FDP’s strongman in the federal government for years and still wields significant influence in North Rhine-Westphalia.
On the evening of the election, Marie Agnes Struck Zimmermann (FDP), chair of the Bundestag Defense Committee, who recently drew attention with harsh public criticism of Social Democratic chancellor Olaf Schulz, also spoke. To justify her party’s poor performance, she says that when there is as much polarization between two people as there is now in North Rhine-Westphalia between the CDU’s top candidate, Hendrik Fust and the top Social Democrat Thomas Kochati, it is “always difficult” for the FDP. Strack-Zimmermann rates the FDP’s policy as “objectively good”. The FDP’s top candidate, Joachim Stamp, speaks of a “bitter defeat” that must be dealt with “mercilessly”. There can be no such thing as ‘continuing like this’.
For all parties, state elections in the most populous federal state are also important for their national political weight. However, for today’s FDP, this applies more than anyone else. Two of the four members of the federal government with FDP membership come from North Rhine-Westphalia, Finance Minister Christian Lindner and Justice Minister Marco Buschmann. Since Lindner is also the party leader and the newly elected General Secretary Bijan Geir Saray also comes from North Rhine-Westphalia, employees from the large federal state also dominate the party head. The head of the parliamentary group, Christian Doer, may be from Lower Saxony, but right behind him is the Parliamentary Director Johannes Vogel, who comes from – right – North Rhine-Westphalia.
In Düsseldorf, the Free Democratic Party ruled relatively silently along with the CDU. The Black and Yellow Alliance also survived the change from CDU Prime Minister Armin Laschet to his successor, Hendrik Fust. Apparently, the Liberal Democrats felt comfortable with the CDU. When the FDP became part of a federal government again in the fall after a nine-year government hiatus, it gave the first impression that the Traffic Lights’ alliance with the SPD and the Greens was a great coincidence. However, this was also due to the fact that the Federation had become so paralyzed by years of internal disagreements that any potential ally had doubts about its stability. So does the FDP.
But it soon became clear that the alliance of traffic lights, initially inflated, was not a dream constellation. Not for the FDP either. Soon the grinding between the red and green portion on one side and the yellow portion on the other hand became apparent. The first major theme on which this came to light was the fight against the epidemic. By inviting him to “Freedom Day,” when most protections were due to be lifted on March 20, the FDP pushed its coalition partners in front of him. After initially agreeing on the reaction to the Russian attack on Ukraine, at least parts of the FDP are looking at a rift with the chancellor, particularly on the issue of arms deliveries to Ukraine. Noisy appearances in the federal government do not have a positive effect in the federal states.