Germany election

How Germany’s Free Democratic party capitalised on the AfD’s misfortunes

One of the most remarkable stories to come out of Germany in the last year has been the rise of the Free Democratic Party (FDP). Having struggled for relevance in 2020, the party has transformed itself into a political force that could decide the makeup of the next government – and maybe even anoint Angela Merkel’s successor as Chancellor. The FDP’s success follows an almost eight-year long self-reinvention in which the party has sometimes resembled a cult of personality centred around its charismatic chairman, Christian Lindner. It was Lindner who began the party’s revival after a shattering 2013 defeat led to the loss of all its seats in the Bundestag,