FDP starts three day conference – German Cabinet reshuffled
The battered and bruised Free Democrat Party (FDP), junior coalition partners with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat Union (CDU) will be going in to their three day conference in Rostock hoping to improve their fortunes.
In recent weeks they have done badly in the state elections across Germany, their leader has resigned, their fortunes in the opinion polls have plummeted to less than 5% and they have forced Merkel into another reshuffle.
Guido Westerwelle currently Foreign Minister was forced to resign as FDP party leader in April or face a rebellion in the party. Although he stays on as Foreign Minister for the time being, he is expected to be replaced as FDP leader by Philipp Rösler this weekend.
Meanwhile Philip Rösler has been moved from the health ministry to become the Economics Minister and has been replaced at health by his junior FDP minister, Daniel Bahr.
Rainer Brüderle, who was Economics Minister goes on to head up the FDP faction in the parliament.
All of this will be unwelcome to Angela Merkel who has had to make several changes to her Cabinet in recent months and who badly needs a reliable coalition partner.
Whilst the opinion polls haven’t hurt the CDU so far, the FDP and Merkel now require a period of consolidation.
Recent polls put the CDU on between 33% and 35%, the opposition SPD on 22% to 28%, the Greens on 22% to 26% and the FDP on 4% to 5%. In the general election in 2009 the FDP stood at 14.6%.