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FDP and Greens report record membership

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FDP and Greens report record membership
Photo: DPA
08:41 CET+01:00
2009 was more than a triumphant election year for the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the eco-friendly Green party. They each made a record number of new members.

As Germany's traditional mainstream parties, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), continued to shrink, the FDP's popular low-tax policies and libertarian social views won the party a ten percent net increase in membership in 2009. The Greens meanwhile ended the year with nearly seven percent more members.

"Never before have so many people voted FDP and never before has the FDP accepted so many new members," FDP General Secretary Christian Lindner told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper.

Green party parliamentary secretary Steffi Lemke spoke of an "uninterrupted wave of mainly young people" to her party.

According to a survey carried out by the Frankfurter Rundschau, the CDU remains the biggest party in Germany, with 522,944 members as of November 30, though the party lost around 6,000 people in 2009. The SPD lost 9,300 members to end the year with around 513,000.

The FDP counted 71,996 members at the end of November, an all-time record, and 6,396 more than at the start of the year. "In every demographic the support for our liberal politics is growing," Lindner said.

But Lemke had another explanation for the expansion of the Greens by 3,051 to 48,163 members. "People don't want to accept the politics of a ruling coalition of CDU and FDP which is messing up the future and are consciously choosing a Green opposition."

The socialist Left party also made small gains in Germany, though its membership in former East Germany continued to shrink slowly. The latest membership figures are from the end of September, when the Left party had 77,645 members in Germany, 1,677 more than the beginning of the year. But in the country's most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia, the Left party has doubled its membership since 2006 to 8,584.

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