Free Democratic Party

Published 19th September, 2013

The Free Democratic Party or FDP was founded in 1948 as a merger of a number of liberal and democratic Länder organisations which in turn had their origins from the German State Party and the German People’s Party of the Weimar Republic. The party describes itself as Centre-right and believes in Liberalism and Classical liberalism.

The party has moved further to the centre-right in recent times and is a strong supporter of the promotion of free markets and privatisation.

The FDP won its first election in 1949 taking 58 of the 429 seats in the Bundestag.

The FDP has the distinction of being the party in Germany which has served the longest in government. It prides itself on having held the balance of power in the Bundestag and has been in power as a junior coalition partner either with the CDU/CSU (1949–56, 1961–66, 1982–98, 2009 to date) or with the SPD (1969–82).

In the 2009 federal election the FDP had its best showing ever, taking 93 of the 622 seats in the Bundestag. However, a series of leadership changes has meant that the popularity of the FDP has dropped off and its representation in state legislatures has diminished sharply. In the 2013 federal election the FDP found itself lingering around the 5% threshold compared with the 15% they took in 2009.

The Free Democratic Party is a member of Liberal International and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party. In the European Parliament where they hold 12 of the 99 national seats the FDP are members of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe parliamentary group.

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