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.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU and Bavarian sister party CSU have discussed a plan for coalition talks with the FDP and the Greens. A CSU proposal to allow only 200,000 immigrants per year has been one issue of debate.
The Greens have voted unanimously to approve exploratory negotiations to form Germany's next government with Chancellor Merkel's CDU/CSU and the laissez-faire Free Democrats. Talks could start by the end of October.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has the backing of nearly 60 percent of voters to form a ruling coalition with the Greens and FDP, a new survey says. However, Germany may have to wait until the new year for a new government.
Merkel's party appears to have taken its first step toward wooing the FDP into Germany's next government. The SPD picks a Bundestag boss, the AfD entertains and alarms, and more from the third day of election fallout.
A leading Christian Democrat in Brussels doesn't think Sunday's election will impact German foreign policy. Elmar Brok tells DW the new coalition will be "pro-Europe" and Merkel will continue to stand up to Trump.