German election 2021: Who is liberal leader Christian Lindner?

2021 marks Christian Lindner's third German general election campaign and his second campaign as leader of Germany's liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP).

Failed attempts for the Bundestag

The 42-year-old management consultant took over the party chairmanship in 2013 after the FDP failed to make it into the Bundestag. Now Lindner is setting his sights on becoming finance minister. But before this, the liberals' main objective is to not repeat the mistakes of the past.

After the 2017 Bundestag elections, Lindner left the coalition talks with the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union and the Greens, the so-called JAMAICA coalition, the reason? He stated that he felt “it is better not to govern than to govern wrongly”.

Pandemic ambivalence

In recent months, his party has been ambivalent about the COVID-19 crisis: an FDP politician, Wolfgang Kubicki, wrote a book called 'Crushed Freedom: How a Virus Undermines Our Rule of Law'. During the election campaign, Lindner has been quick to emphasise his party does not deny COVID-19. However, he has called quarantine a “method from the Middle Ages”.

The party considers itself a strong opposition to the left, but the lines that differentiate it from the right-wing populists, the AfD, are sometimes blurred.

In regards to the fight against climate change, Lindner believes in what he calls the German spirit of engineering. He is also a critic of Fridays For Future.

The party is also against raising taxes for those with higher incomes. Lindner believes that those how have higher incomes already pay more taxes and that money is not always kept for themselves. He argues that income from businesses goes back into the economy as a form of economic substance.

The FDP is sometimes considered in Germany as the “party of Porsche drivers” and the place of women in the party has come under the spotlight. Lindner himself has even been criticised for his behaviour towards female colleagues.

As the FDP is probably needed to form a coalition in the elections, some are calling Christian Lindner a 'Kingmaker'.

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