Into the light

September 22nd 2013 felt like ground zero for Germany’s Liberals. On that Sunday, Christian Lindner’s worst nightmare became reality as his party dropped out of parliament. Almost to the day exactly four years later, the FDP celebrated an impressive comeback in federal politics by garnering 10.7 per cent of the electorate – significantly more than Die Linke and the German Greens but less than their far-right rivals AfD.

In “Schattenjahre. Die Rückkehr des politischen Liberalismus”, Lindner describes his party’s complicated restructuring procedure during the past four years. The party leader – who took over shortly after stepping down as general secretary – explains how he reshaped the FDP in order to think afresh about how they become a relevant political factor.

In his book, Lindner shortly reflects on the Liberal Democrats’ main mistakes during their coalition with Angela Merkel’s FDP before focusing on writing about internal reforms, his activities on Instagram and Twitter and marketing initiatives such as creating a new logo and controversial slogans.

“Schattenjahre. Die Rückkehr des politischen Liberalismus” also consists of lengthy chapters in which the author describes his political visions – from the importance of a liberal economic framework to more investments into education. These parts of the book are less exciting than his description of the FDP’s way back up. After several mediocre and some impressive results at provincial ballots, the Freie Demokraten had something to celebrate at last year’s Bundestag vote.

Schattenjahre. Die Rückkehr des politischen Liberalismus
By Christian Lindner
Published by Klett-Cotta (

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