A.Even in the exploratory talks with the larger Union and SPD parties, the Free Democrats remain in the balancing act. The FDP general secretary, Volker Wissing, was vague early on Sunday evening after the meeting with the SPD – “entitlement to reform government” and “necessary modernization steps”, also “clear cliffs”, but “good signals” are elements of his statement. After the evening conversation with the Union parties, some metaphors change – “few cliffs” -, others remain: “Constructive” is his most common word.
The FDP will only decide in the next few days how things should go on after this exploratory Sunday, says Wissing, as if his party were the decisive force that the other partners seek to govern. It is not even clear whether the “preliminary explorations” will end on Tuesday after the last bilateral talks between the Union and the Greens or whether there will be a second round of such sniffing meetings.
The SPD, on the other hand, leaves no doubt about its impatience: “We are clear about that, we want a coalition of winners,” said SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil after meeting the FDP. And that Olaf Scholz will become Federal Chancellor. The conversation with the Free Democrats was “constructive and very strongly oriented towards the matter in hand”, and the topics of climate, digitization and state reform were discussed. Klingbeil does not want to leave any doubt that the SPD will soon delve into proper negotiations with the Greens and the FDP about a joint government. And also the Greens, who have their appointment with the Social Democrats the evening after the FDP, express their will through gestures – they have already arrived at the meeting point an hour too early to hold their own preliminary talk there.
CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak, however, is exuberant after the encounter between the Union parties and the FDP: There was “great personal trust”, he says, and there were “great overlaps in terms of content” and “intense factual similarities”. Ziemiak advertises: “Jamaica offers many opportunities for our country.” His CSU colleague Markus Blume stays an octave lower: He speaks of “a good start” that makes “want more”.
The FDP party and faction chairman Christian Lindner had previously renewed his party’s position determination: The FDP had “greater overlaps” with the CDU / CSU. But Lindner added a threat to the partner of choice: CDU and CSU “have to clarify whether they really want to lead a government,” he said in an interview with Bild am Sonntag. And he packaged a warning in the sentence that the FDP was ready for “serious talks” with the Union, but hoped for “the other way around the same”. Regarding speculation in the Union parties that there will initially be coalition talks between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP, and after their possible failure, the CDU / CSU, the FDP and the Greens could then negotiate a coalition, Lindner said that Germany could not be expected to do so.
Two and a half months ago, Lindner started the federal election campaign with the certain prophecy that Armin Laschet would become Federal Chancellor and that all that mattered was to enrich a black-green government alliance through the participation of the FDP. The election result on September 26 left almost nothing of this certainty.
So Lindner tried in a first step to build a platform of trust with the Greens. In a second step, he is now trying to free a possible coalition with the SPD and the Greens from the accusation that this will be a “left-wing alliance”. This should keep the damage to one’s own party small if such a traffic light coalition comes about. Lindner already indicates how the FDP wants to preserve its goals – neither tax increases nor higher debts – even in this government constellation; He proposes, for example, the abandonment of subsidies for the purchase of electric cars.
Before and after all exploratory contacts, the FDP continues to evoke the value of its “independence”. On the one hand, this serves to preserve negotiating power in the coming rounds of talks, but on the other hand it is again a warning to the Union parties not to calculate with the blind allegiance of the FDP and possibly even to burden it with a failure of the traffic light probes, in order to then themselves Forge Jamaica Alliance. At the end of the day, Wissing says that it is also “an open question how exactly we draw an interim balance sheet”.