Free Democratic Party (Germany)

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  1. redirectTemplate:Politics of Germany

The Free Democratic Party (Freie Demokratische Partei - FDP) is a free-market liberal party in Germany. The party is a member of the Liberal International and of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.

The FDP has traditionally been composed mainly of middle- and upper-class Protestants, who consider themselves "independents" and heirs to the European liberal tradition. Although the party is relatively weak, gaining between 5.8 and 12.8% of the votes in elections, it has participated in all but three postwar federal governments in coalition with either the CDU conservatives or the SPD social democrats and has spent only eight years out of government since 1949. Still, the German government is much more powerful than most free democrats would like.

The party became involved in controversy after declaring itself to be the "party of the well-to-do". Many took this to mean that the party was opposed to the interests of poorer people. It is true that the party tends to do especially well in areas where people are better off. Since 1982, the Party has moved increasingly to the right. In all federal election campaigns since that time, the Party has sided with the CDU and CSU, the main conservative parties in Germany. The traditionally "liberal" section of the FDP (containing politicians like Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and Burkhard Hirsch) has become increasingly marginalized. Some prominent members of that wing, such as Dr Hildegard Hamm-Brcher, left the party altogether, sparking a debate about whether the term "liberal" is not as big a misnomer, when applied to the FDP, as in the case of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party. The term "liberal" in the case of the FDP in the classical liberal sense, usually termed libertarianism in America, wherein the central state is minimized.

The party took 6.2% of the vote and returned 43 deputies to the Bundestag in the general election of 1998. In 2001, Guido Westerwelle replaced Wolfgang Gerhardt as party chairman. In the 2002 election, the FDP took 7.4% of the vote.

The party's motto is "So viel Staat wie ntig, so wenig Staat wie mglich!", meaning "as much government as needed, as little government as possible!"

Chairmen of the Free Democratic Party, 1948-present

See also

External link

fr:Freie Demokratische Partei nl:Vrije Democratische Partij no:Freie Demokratische Partei pl:Partia Wolnych Demokratw ru:Свободная демократическая партия Германии fi:Liberaalidemokraattinen puolue (Saksa) sv:Freie Demokratische Partei


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