The people’s choice in detail:
SPD (social-democrats) 38.5% (-2.4)
CDU (conservative) 38.5% (+3.4)
FDP (liberals) 7.4% (+1.2)
BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN (green party) 8.6% (+1.9)
PDS (socialists) 4.0% (-1.1)
others 3.0 (-2.9)
Guido Westerwelle and Jürgen W. Möllemann’s idea of a strong, independent party without preset coalition party and an own candidate to the chancellorship had its own codename: “Projekt 18”. Though FDP was unable to reach this target, this strategy was supposed to unite the party and give the people in Germany the feeling of a new, reformed FDP. The Liberals’ program is that of a first league player, that’s why FDP wants to play there.
In the beginning of the campaign surveys showed a strong increase in the number of FDP voters. 12.5% seemed to be within reach. A faux-pas and a personal quarrel between deputy chairman Jürgen W. Möllemann and German TV host and vice president of the German Jewish Council Michel Friedman led to a sudden slowdown in the campaign. FDP’s reputation recovered slowly, but the flood in the eastern parts of Germany left the impression of an acting government and a paralyzed opposition to the people. Of course, parties in the opposition are not in charge in this situation, but a majority of the population didn’t consider this.
Some consequences have already been made. Möllemann was asked to step down from his office as deputy chairman. He left the national board on Monday afternoon. He lost the support within his party when he published a flyer in which he tried to revive the quarrel between him and Friedman. Westerwelle assured that FDP will continue to claim its place as the third political force in Germany.