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The Next Power in the Global Economy Is Christian Lindner

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23.09.2021

For the first time, three chancellor candidates were invited to debate during the run-up to the German election. There were some tense moments, but for the most part it was a humdrum exercise for Armin Laschet of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Annalena Baerbock of the Greens.

But there was an elephant in the room during all three chancellorship debates. Christian Lindner, leader of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), was not present but is poised to play kingmaker if current polls hold. His absence was palpable, as his demands—first and foremost heading up the powerful finance ministry—will almost certainly affect the next German chancellor’s ability to set a domestic agenda and future course for Europe. Although Lindner played only a minor role in the campaign, he may be about to play an enormous role in international politics.

Due to a fragmented political landscape, three parties will likely be required to form a majority government in Berlin after Election Day on Sept. 26. The two largest parties, the CDU and SPD, have essentially ruled out governing together, which means that one of them would look to form a pact with both the FDP and the Greens to form a parliamentary majority.

For the first time, three chancellor candidates were invited to debate during the run-up to the German election. There were some tense moments, but for the most part it was a humdrum exercise for Armin Laschet of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Annalena Baerbock of the Greens.

But there was an elephant in the room during all three chancellorship debates. Christian Lindner, leader of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), was not present but is poised to play kingmaker if current polls hold. His absence was palpable, as his demands—first and foremost heading up the powerful finance ministry—will almost certainly affect the next German chancellor’s ability to set a domestic agenda and future course for Europe. Although Lindner played only a minor role in the campaign, he may be about to play an enormous role in international politics.

Due to a fragmented political landscape, three parties will likely be required to form a majority government in Berlin after Election Day on Sept. 26. The two largest parties,........

© Foreign Policy


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