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Shaping German foreign policy

The liberal FDP with its close ties to business has seen its importance decline of late. In its heyday, its foreign ministers influenced European history. 

© dpa

Ahead of the Bundestag elections on 21 September 2021, let us introduce you to the German political parties that are represented in the Bundestag. In Germany, parties only win seats in parliament if they obtain five percent or more of the votes.

The party:
Free Democratic Party of Germany



MPs in the Bundestag in the period:
80 of 709 MPs in total

Historic figures:
Theodor Heuss, first Federal President from 1949-1959
Walter Scheel, Foreign Minister (1969-1974) and Federal President (1974-1979)
Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Foreign Minister from 1974-1992 (longest-serving minister)

Profile: The FDP was founded in keeping with the longstanding tradition of liberal-conservative parties in Germany. It is committed to civil liberties and stands for economic liberalist and business-friendly attitudes. The FDP has helped govern Germany for a total of 46 years as a junior coalition partner in the Federal Government. For nearly quarter of a century, it defined what at the time was a fundamentally new approach to German foreign policy. This involved Walter Scheel and Hans-Dietrich Genscher consistently striving to resolve the Cold War through understanding and to end the division of Germany and Europe. The FDP is regarded as a centre-right party.


Links to portraits of other political parties:
CDU/CSU , SPD, Greens, Linke, AfD