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FDP membership in 'vicious downward spiral'
Photo: DPA

FDP membership in 'vicious downward spiral'

Published: 29 Dec 2012 13:28 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Dec 2012 13:28 GMT+01:00

For the first time ever, there are likely to be more Greens than Free Democrats in Germany by the end of the year, new estimates predict. The Green party is the only major political party that gained new members in 2012.

The pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), the junior party in Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition, lost some 5,400 members in 2011, and another 3,000 in the first six months of this year, putting the official membership at 60,181.

But the FDP leadership under Vice Chancellor Philipp Rösler has refused to release figures for the second half of the year until after a meeting of coalition leaders in January. Nevertheless, the fall is likely to have continued, the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reported on Saturday.

"We have no indications that there were significant membership increases," admitted party spokesman Wulf Oehme. Regional party branches have all reported membership declines in the past few months.

A similar fall in the second of this year is likely to put FDP party membership well below that of the Green party, which gained 650 members this year, putting the official total at 59,727 as of mid-December.

"The FDP is in a vicious downward circle," said Berlin-based political scientist Oskar Niedermayer. "No-one wants to belong to the losers." He put much of the blame on the Rösler's enduring lack of popularity.

Germany's two major parties - the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) - have been bleeding members for several years, partly because of Germany's ageing demographic.

Focus magazine reported on Saturday that the SPD had overtaken the CDU as the biggest German party by membership, with 483,000 members, losing "only" around 6,000 members in the past year. The CDU lost over 9,000 members, and dropped to 480,000.

The socialist party The Left's membership is also declining, sinking to below 70,000 for the first time earlier this year.

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Your comments about this article

04:12 December 30, 2012 by vonSchwerin
There are fewer Greens than PDSler? That's messed up. I can't believe that the SEDPDSLINKE's membership has not plummeted, with the exception of East Berlin and a western German university towns. Well, eventually all the Ostalgists will start dying off.
12:34 December 30, 2012 by Englishted
Not surprised by the F.D.P. complete idiots.

But the figures in general reflect the feeling of hopelessness and despair the electorate have when whoever you vote for, changes their policies to grab a slice of the mishmash that is coalition power.

I would bet the numbers of people voting is dropping as well,because what is the point ?.
18:37 December 30, 2012 by mitanni
That probably has something to do with the fact that "Die Liberalen" are "liberal" in name only. Let's hope they disappear for good so that a new liberal party can arise in Germany.
22:29 December 30, 2012 by lordkorner
Now if we could only find out where they are going.
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