Lindner reelected as head of Germany's Free Democrats

Lindner helped the FDP return to Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, in the 2017 elections. But he turned down an opportunity to form a coalition government with Chancellor Angela Merkel after the vote.

Christian Lindner was reelected as head of Germany's liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) at a delegates' convention in Berlin on Friday.

Lindner won 86.64% of the delegates' votes, down from the 91% that he received when he was first elected as the party leader in 2013.

After the 2017 federal elections, Lindner, whose FDP is an opposition party in parliament, rejected the offer to form a coalition government with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Greens.

Read more: Germany's FDP vows support for Angela Merkel-led minority government

The FDP failed to enter the Bundestag in 2013 after falling below the 5% threshold. However, Linder helped the party's return to the Bundestag in 2017, winning 10.7% of the vote.

The FDP also elected Linda Teuteberg, a Brandenburg lawmaker, as its new general secretary. She replaced Nicola Beer, who became the party's top candidate for the EU parliamentary election. Beer was chosen by FDP delegates as the deputy party leader.

Germany's major political parties — What you need to know

Christian Democratic Union (CDU)

The CDU has traditionally been the main center-right party across Germany, but it shifted toward the center under Chancellor Angela Merkel. The party remains more fiscally and socially conservative compared to parties on the left. It supports membership of the EU and NATO, budgetary discipline at home and abroad and generally likes the status quo. It is the largest party in the Bundestag.

Germany's major political parties — What you need to know

Christian Social Union (CSU)

The CSU is the sister party of the CDU in Bavaria and the two act symbiotically at the national level (CDU/CSU). Despite their similarities, the CSU is generally more conservative than the CDU on social issues, with CSU leader Horst Seehofer among the critics of Merkel's lax immigration policy. The CSU premier of Bavaria, Markus Söder, more recently ordered crosses in every state building.

Germany's major political parties — What you need to know

Social Democrats (SPD)

The SPD is Germany's oldest political party and the main center-left rival of the CDU/CSU. It shares the CDU/CSU support for the EU and NATO, but it takes a more progressive stance on social issues and welfare policies. The party is currently in a coalition government with the CDU/CSU and is trying to win back popular support under leader Andrea Nahles after losing votes in 2017.

Germany's major political parties — What you need to know

Alternative for Germany (AfD)

The new kid on the block is the largest opposition party in the Bundestag. The far-right party was founded in 2013 and entered the Bundestag for the first time in 2017 under the stewardship of Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland. It is largely united by opposition to Merkel's immigration policy, euroscepticism, and belief in the alleged dangers posed by Germany's Muslim population.

Germany's major political parties — What you need to know

Free Democrats (FDP)

The FDP has traditionally been the kingmaker of German politics. Although it has never received more than 15 percent of the vote, it has formed multiple coalition governments with both the CDU/CSU and SPD. The FDP, today led by Christian Lindner, supports less government spending and lower taxes, but takes a progressive stance on social issues such as gay marriage or religion.

Germany's major political parties — What you need to know

The Greens

The Greens, led today by Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, emerged from the environmental movement in the 1980s. Unsuprisingly, it supports efforts to fight climate change and protect the environment. It is also progressive on social issues. But strong divisions have occasionally emerged on other topics. The party famously split in the late 1990s over whether to use military force in Kosovo.

Germany's major political parties — What you need to know

The Left

The Left, led by Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger, is the most left-wing party in the Bundestag. It supports major redistribution of wealth at home and a pacifist stance abroad, including withdrawing Germany from NATO. It emerged from the successor party to the Socialist Unity Party (SED) that ruled communist East Germany until 1989. Today, it still enjoys most of its support in eastern Germany.

shs/rc (Dpa, AFP)

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