In an interview published Sunday night, Wolfgang Kubicki, head of the Free Democrats' (FDP) parliamentary group in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, said the party could collapse under its leaders' noses.
“The situation in which we find ourselves reminds me disastrously of the late stages of the GDR (East Germany),” he told news magazine Der Spiegel. “All of a sudden they were no longer there. The leadership could not grasp that, right up to the end. I can happen that the FDP implodes too.”
Kubicki is a member of the federal leadership group and has been openly critical of FDP boss and Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle, under whose reign the party's approval rating has sunk to a record low of less than five percent.
Kubicki was also the first senior party member to call for the sacking of Helmut Metzner, the FDP “mole” who fed information about coalition negotiations to the US embassy, as revealed by the latest Wikileaks releases.
The party eventually sacked Metzner, who had been chief of staff to Westerwelle but only after first shifting him sideways and downplaying the embarrassing incident.
Kubicki was roundly blasted by senior party colleagues for his latest remarks.
“To just whinge and not create any constructive suggestions about what to do is always the easiest way,” said Rainer Brüderle, economy minister and senior party figure.
The party's general secretary, Christian Lindner, said: “With caustic criticism, one can perhaps boost one's one profile, but not solve the problems.”
And FDP chief in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Daniel Bahr, said: “The GDR comparison is way off the mark, because unlike the GDR, the FDP leadership is always up for election.”