Under the impression of several sensitive election defeats in the federal states, the FDP is meeting for its federal party conference in Berlin from today. By Sunday, the Free Democrats want to re-elect their leadership and stake out the further course in the traffic light coalition.

Party leader Christian Lindner first presented his statement of accounts on the first day of the meeting and then asked for re-election. Two years ago – a few months before the general election – 93 percent of the delegates voted for him. His result now can also be seen as an indication of how satisfied the party base is with what has been achieved so far in the traffic light coalition with the SPD and the Greens.

Nationwide losses

Since the federal elections in autumn 2021, the FDP has failed at the five percent hurdle in the state elections in Saarland, in Lower Saxony and in the repeat election in Berlin. In Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia, she managed to return to the state parliament despite heavy losses, but was kicked out of government in each case. In response to the poor results, Lindner announced that he would “work out and strengthen” his own positions and switch on the liberal “position lights”. The work of the FDP in the traffic light should become more visible.

The coalition with the SPD and the Greens is still viewed critically by parts of the party. Lindner has always made it clear that this is not a love marriage, but an alliance of convenience. The Liberals only agreed to this because after the federal elections in 2021, a different government constellation was not possible due to the weakness of the Union at the time.

Climate protectors attest to backward-looking policies

In recent months, the FDP has repeatedly been at odds with the SPD and the Greens. She insisted that combustion engines should continue to be approved if they are operated with e-fuels. The FDP declared the shutdown of the last three German nuclear power plants to be wrong. For energy security and to avoid coal-fired power, continued operation of the kiln is necessary.

She asserted that not only should rail traffic be expanded at an accelerated pace, but also up to 145 motorway projects, which are traffic jams and bottlenecks. And when the cabinet passed the law on retrofitting heating systems this week, Lindner agreed, but expressed reservations in a statement in the minutes.

Climate protection movements such as Fridays for Future and Last Generation see this as completely backward-looking politics and therefore want to accompany the federal party conference with protests. They also criticize the fact that the climate targets are being broken in the transport sector for which Volker Wissing (FDP) is responsible. Climate activist Luisa Neubauer accused the Federal Minister of Transport in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” of a “climate policy refusal to work”. He must resign.

Strack-Zimmermann as Europe’s top candidate

The three-day party conference will be opened at 11 a.m. by European politician Nicola Beer. She is no longer a candidate for party vice-presidency and will in future represent Germany as vice-president on the Executive Committee of the European Investment Bank (EIB). Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger wants to run for one of the three deputy posts. The defense politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann was yesterday unanimously nominated by the federal executive board of the FDP as the top candidate for the European elections next year.

Until then, the FDP still has to pass difficult elections at state level – already on May 14 in Bremen, where the Free Democrats have failed several times at the five percent hurdle. The same applies to Bavaria, where a new state parliament was elected on October 8th. The Hesse election on the same day is still the most promising for the FDP.