Founded in 1948, the liberal pro-business FDP participated in German governments led by the CDU and the SPD as a junior partner for a total of 45 years - before dropping out of parliament after the 2013 general election.
The FDP promotes free market economy and individual liberty and had a reputation as a "king maker" for both Germany's big parties, neither of whom have managed to get an absolute majority for decades. Frequently, the FDP emerged as a viable junior coalition partner. The FDP's critics alleged that the party catered only to its voter base of urban, wealthy, self-employed Germans - such as pharmacists, hotel owners, lawyers and doctors. It failed to get more than 5% of the vote in the 2013 election and therefore dropped out of the Bundestag. The party is seeking to recover its national parliamentary representation in the 2017 elections. Recent DW stories tagged "FDP" appear on this page.
During Germany's big election year, two parties received by far the most money from businesses and wealthy backers. Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU and the pro-business FDP received millions, according to Bundestag data.
Germany is facing an unprecedented political scenario. Two months after elections, coalition talks have collapsed between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU, its Bavarian sister party the CSU, the Greens and the FDP. It’s a major setback for Merkel. Germany could now be facing months of political limbo. Our Berlin correspondent, Jefferson Chase, explains why the coalition talks broke down.
Exploratory talks between Germany's conservatives, Greens and Free Democrats have failed after the latter's withdrawal. The collapse of this coalition option was a necessity, political scientist Christian Hacke tells DW.