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Free Democratic Party (Germany)
|European affiliation||European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party|
|International affiliation||Liberal International|
|European Parliament group||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe|
The Free Democratic Party or Freie Demokratische Partei, short FDP (from 1968 to 2001 F.D.P.) is a political party in Germany. Currently its position is that of free market believer. The party does not want to take away all of the social features of the German welfare state, however.
Several liberal parties have existed in Germany since the 19th century. The FDP was founded in West Germany in September of 1945 in the state of Hamburg. It became member of the state parliament of Hamburg in its first election. Similar liberal parties were founded in other German states, most of them successful in getting mandates. In 1947, on March 17th, the Demokratische Partei Deutschlands (DPD) was founded as a whole-Germany liberal party by Theodor Heuss and Wilhelm Külz, but it broke down after a short while. On December, 11th in 1948 the FDP was founded as a liberal party for West Germany. Chief of the party was Theodor Heuss. The next important man was Thomas Dehler.
In its first years the main part of the party followed a national-liberal way. Liberal in the economical field, but very conserative in most other fields. But in every state it had its own way.
In 1969 the FDP returned to government. But now the FDP was partner of the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands under Willy Brandt, later Helmut Schmidt. The party changed its values. Left-liberal positions were the leading ideas of the FDP at that time and included ideas like civil rights and giving everyone the chance for a good education (guaranteed state stipendia, no more study fees, more higher education schools).
It changed again in 1982, when the government crashed on Schmidt and elected Helmut Kohl of the CDU as the new chancellor. It became more and more a single issue party with its only interest in a low tax tarif - especially for high incomes. It fought for study fees now and against social security. It secretary general said one day "We are the party of the best-incomes".
In 1998 it lost its power and became part of the opposition. In some state parliaments the FDP is still in power as junior partner of the CDU.
The party's unofficial motto is "So viel Staat wie nötig, so wenig Staat wie möglich!", meaning "as much state as necessary, as little state as possible!"
Chairmen of the Free Democratic Party, 1948-present
- Theodor Heuss 1948-1949
- Franz Blücher 1949-1954
- Thomas Dehler 1954-1957
- Reinhold Maier 1957-1960
- Erich Mende 1960-1968
- Walter Scheel 1968-1974
- Hans-Dietrich Genscher 1974-1985
- Martin Bangemann 1985-1988
- Otto Graf Lambsdorff 1988-1993
- Klaus Kinkel 1993-1995
- Wolfgang Gerhardt 1995-2001
- Guido Westerwelle 2001-2011
- Philipp Roesler 2011-
- Free Democratic Party (FDP) official site