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BERLIN, Sept. 22, 2013 (Xinhua) -- Philipp Roesler, chairmen of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), attends the FDP election event in Berlin on Sept. 22, 2013.
Image: imago/Xinhua

Rösler to resign

September 23, 2013

Free Democrats chief Philipp Rösler is set to resign following a disappointing election showing that saw the party fail to reach parliament. The Greens leadership is also reportedly stepping down.


Philip Rösler announced his resignation Monday to a meeting of liberal Free Democrats (FDP) leadership, participants told media. The FDP's leadership reportedly also came to the agreement that the national party executive should step down.

The FDP were voted out of government and out of the Bundestag on Sunday after receiving 4.8 percent of the vote, just short of the 5 percent threshold necessary to gain entrance to the German parliament.

It is the first time the party has failed to get elected to the Bundestag since World War II.

Rösler became FDP chief in 2011 after taking over from Guido Westerwelle two years ago. He had promised to help steer the party out of its decline. An impressive showing of 10 percent in the January's Lower Saxony elections was seen as a bellwether ahead of the national vote.

However, the failure to clear the 5 percent hurdle in the Bavarian elections a week before the nationwide poll proved to be a sample of what was to come.

The 40-year-old Rösler has also served as vice chancellor and finance minister in Chancellor Angela Merkel's government since May 2011. But the FDP's election defeat signaled the end of its ruling coalition with Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats.

The FDP's North Rhine-Westphalia party chief Christian Lindner is expected to be named as Rösler's replacement.

"No one can get around Christian Linder. He is somebody who can lead the party out of its lethargy," the FDP's Schleswig-Holstein chief Wolfgang Kubicki told the DPA news agency. "New leadership must be chosen at the next party congress. It can't keep going on like this, definitely not."

Consequences for the Greens

The pro-environment Greens national party executive is also reported to be resigning after garnering 8.4 percent of the vote, sources have told media. Party chiefs Claudia Roth and Cem Özdemir reportedly told the entire leadership to step down, and the Greens parliamentary leader Volker Beck also announced his resignation.

dr/rg (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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