Christian Lindner

Christian Wolfgang Lindner (born 7 January 1979) is a German politician who has led the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) since 2013. He has been a Member of the Bundestag (MdB) for North Rhine-Westphalia since 2017, previously holding a seat from 2009 until 2012.

Christian Lindner
2020-02-14 Christian Lindner (Bundestagsprojekt 2020) by Sandro Halank–2.jpg
Lindner in 2020
Leader of the Free Democratic Party
Assumed office
7 December 2013
DeputyWolfgang Kubicki
Nicola Beer
Johannes Vogel
General SecretaryNicola Beer
Linda Teuteberg
Volker Wissing
Preceded byPhilipp Rösler
Leader of the Free Democratic Party in the Bundestag
Assumed office
24 October 2017
Chief WhipMarco Buschmann
DeputyKatja Suding
Michael Theurer
Stephan Thomae
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff
Christian Dürr
Frank Sitta
Preceded byRainer Brüderle (2013)
Leader of the Free Democratic Party in the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia
In office
31 May 2012 – 10 October 2017
Preceded byGerhard Papke
Succeeded byChristof Rasche
Leader of the Free Democratic Party in North Rhine-Westphalia
In office
13 May 2012 – 27 November 2017
Preceded byDaniel Bahr
Succeeded byJoachim Stamp
Secretary General of the Free Democratic Party
In office
24 December 2009 – 14 December 2011
LeaderGuido Westerwelle
Philipp Rösler
Preceded byDirk Niebel
Succeeded byPatrick Döring
Member of the Bundestag
for North Rhine-Westphalia
Assumed office
24 October 2017
ConstituencyFDP List
In office
27 October 2009 – 10 July 2012
Succeeded byHans-Werner Ehrenberg
ConstituencyFDP List
Member of the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia
In office
31 May 2012 – 10 October 2017
Succeeded byLorenz Deutsch
ConstituencyFDP List
In office
1 June 2000 – 18 November 2009
Succeeded byUte Dreckmann
ConstituencyFDP List
Personal details
Born
Christian Wolfgang Lindner

(1979-01-07) 7 January 1979 (age 42)
Wuppertal, West Germany
(now Germany)
Political partyFree Democratic Party
Spouse(s)
(m. 2011; sep. 2018)
Alma materUniversity of Bonn
Military service
AllegianceGermany
Branch/serviceGerman Air Force
Years of service2002–present
RankMajor
UnitGerman Air Force Reserve

Early life and educationEdit

Christian Lindner was born in Wuppertal, Germany. His father Wolfgang Lindner is a teacher of mathematics and computer science at the Städtisches Gymnasium in Wermelskirchen.

After graduating from Gymnasium in 1998 and an alternative civilian service, Christian Lindner studied political science at the University of Bonn from 1999 to 2006.[1]

After eleven semesters he acquired the academic degree of Master of Arts (MA). In his master's thesis at the Institute of Political Science, he dealt with the topic: "tax competition and revenue sharing. Can the financial constitution be reformed?".[2] In 2006, he began writing his dissertation under supervision from political science professor Frank Decker, which he has so far not completed due to his political activities.[3]

While studying Lindner became a reserve officer in the Air Force. In 2002, he was promoted to First lieutenant (Oberleutnant) in the Reserve. In 2008 he was a liaison officer to the state command Landeskommando of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf. Since September 2011 he has held the rank of Captain (Hauptmann) in the Reserve.[4][5] Currently Lindner is a Major in the German Air Forces Reserve.[6]

Early political careerEdit

Lindner joined the FDP in 1995.[7] He has been a member of the executive board of the FDP in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia since 1998 and became Secretary General in 2004 (until February 2010).[7] At the May 2000 election for the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia, the 21-year old Lindner was elected, becoming the youngest MP in the history of the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia.[7] Lindner was from 2000 initially 'spokesman for Intergenerational Affairs, Family and Integration' and then from 2005 to 2009 was also vice chairman of the FDP parliamentary group in the parliament and spokesman for Innovation, Science and Technology. In 2007 he also became a member of the executive board of the FDP on federal level.

From 2009 Lindner was a member of the German Bundestag. In the negotiations to form a coalition government following the 2009 federal elections, he was part of the FDP delegation in the working group on families, integration of immigrants and culture, led by Maria Böhmer and Hans-Joachim Otto.

From December 2009 until his surprise resignation[8] in December 2011, Lindner was also Secretary General of the FDP on federal level, largely under the leadership of party chairman Guido Westerwelle and later under Philipp Rösler as Westerwelle had to resign.[7] Lindner's resignation was caused by an internal party vote which had been forced by a group centered around the Eurosceptic FDP parliamentarian Frank Schäffler to determine the FDP's future course on questions pertaining to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).[9]

Lindner was later chosen to chair the NRW FDP in the 2012 state election of North Rhine-Westphalia, succeeding Daniel Bahr.[10] In the election, the FDP received 8.6% of the vote,[11] surpassing all expectations at the time as the party had been fighting overall the country to reach the minimum representation of 5% for years and was losing representation in several states.[12] Following the party's victory at that election he was elected Parliamentary leader of the FDP in the NRW Landtag, succeeding Gerhard Papke on 15 May 2012, and worked in the opposition. In March 2013, he was elected one of Rösler's deputies, alongside Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and Holger Zastrow.

FDP ChairmanEdit

Lindner was elected the new chairman of the FDP following the resignation of Chairman Philipp Rösler after the 2013 German federal elections[13][14] in which the FDP failed to clear the 5% hurdle to enter the Bundestag for the first time since 1949.[15]

Ahead of the 2014 European elections, Lindner and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte served as ‘mediators’ between Olli Rehn and Guy Verhofstadt, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe’s candidates for the presidency of the European Commission;[16] eventually, the candidates agreed to jointly lead the ALDE's campaign for elections, with Verhofstadt running to succeed José Manuel Barroso.[17] At the time, Linder was widely regarded to support Rehn.[18]

Lindner was a FDP delegate to the Federal Convention for the purpose of electing the President of Germany in 2017, where he endorsed the government's candidate Frank-Walter Steinmeier.[19] That same year, he led his party's successful campaign for the 2017 state elections of North Rhine-Westphalia, which resulted in the FDP joining the state government of incoming Minister-President Armin Laschet. Lindner himself did not take a position in the new government because of his aim to lead the FDP back to the Bundestag in September 2017, which he achieved with a result of 10.7%. After that success he was elected leader of the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag.

In October 2017, Angela Merkel's CDU and Katrin Göring-Eckardt's and Cem Özdemir's Greens started negotiations with the FDP to form a government, in which Lindner was widely seen as the future Minister of Finance, as the CDU had even nominated the former Minister Wolfgang Schäuble as President of the Bundestag to make place for the FDP. Such a coalition was the only realistic possibility to form a government (except for a Grand coalition) but had almost never been used before on any regional level in Germany. In November 2017, after midnight, Lindner and his party left the already prolonged negotiations after four unsuccessful weeks, which led to the longest government formation in German history and finally in March 2018 once more to a Grand Coalition with the SPD, which had previously rejected any participation in the new government.

Under his leadership, the FDP has become "right-wing", to the point of being accused of moving closer to the far right, as in the denunciation of immigration or the criticism of the government's lockdown measures in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. He is committed to the creation of a commission of inquiry into the Merkel government's refugee policy. He also shifted his party to more eurosceptic positions, advocating the exclusion of Greece from the eurozone during the debt crisis and calling for the rejection of any solidarity fund between European countries or the mutualization of public debts during the Covid-19 pandemic, which he said would threaten monetary stability. He succeeded in rejuvenating the party's image and improving its electoral results, although it remained "a party of lobbies, a network of careerists where women play only a decorative role," according to political scientist Gero Neugebauer. The FDP's electoral strategy is built entirely around its own person, leading its rivals to denounce the cult of personality that it would have promoted.[20]

Other activitiesEdit

Political positionsEdit

EntrepreneurshipEdit

In early 2015, an impassioned response to heckling by Lindner, defending entrepreneurs and startup culture made it onto newspaper front pages and became one of the most watched political speeches in months. Lindner was speaking before the state legislature in North Rhine-Westphalia about the importance of entrepreneurship and how failed entrepreneurs deserve a second chance when a Social Democratic member in the audience heckled: “That [failure] is something you have experience in.” That was a reference to an Internet company co-founded by Lindner that failed after the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s. Lindner responded with a 2½-minute speech. “If one succeeds, one ends up in the sights of the Social Democratic redistribution machinery and, if one fails, one can be sure of derision and mockery,” he responded, also pointing out that this particular member preferred to have a secure job in public service for his entire life, rather than daring to found a company, and how the message of that heckling attempt was the total opposite of what had been announced just minutes earlier by the president of the state legislature (who happened to be an SPD member, just like the heckler).[28][29]

Bild, the highest-circulation daily newspaper in Germany, praised Lindner on its front page. The Berlin daily Tagesspiegel said the rant offered a welcome contrast to the “persistent fog of alternative-less Merkelism” that characterized debate in the Bundestag.[30] What they were referring to was the situation that because of the narrow defeats of the FDP and the AfD the opposition in the Bundestag only included left parties. So, many policies of Merkel's government directly came from their centre-left coalition partner SPD or were at least negotiated and harmonised with them, and then only left parties reacted on them, who usually criticized that those policies were not enough and advocated for more investment into them or stronger policies but did not oppose them on a principal basis.

Financial policyEdit

Shortly after the 2017 elections, Lindner ruled out taking on new debt to manage the balancing act of cutting income taxes and increasing investment on digital infrastructure. He criticized outgoing Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble for not being tough enough on Greece and not cutting income taxes for middle-class workers.[31]

Personal lifeEdit

In 2011, Lindner married journalist Dagmar Rosenfeld; they had started dating in 2009.[32][33] On 19 April 2018, they announced their separation.[34] In 2018, he started dating journalist Franca Lehfeldt.[35]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 December 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ (In german: Steuerwettbewerb und Finanzausgleich. Kann die Finanzverfassung reformiert werden?), »Bambi« legt los., Der Spiegel, 29 November 2004.
  3. ^ Daniel Dettling (Hrsg.): Minima Moralia der nächsten Gesellschaft. Standpunkte eines neuen Generationenvertrags. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2009, ISBN 978-3-531-16475-5, S. 168.
  4. ^ Verbindungsoffizier zum Landeskommando. In: Rheinische Post. 26. Juli 2008.
  5. ^ De Maizière befördert Lindner zum Hauptmann. In: Handelsblatt, 16. September 2011.
  6. ^ "Christian Lindner CV English" (PDF).
  7. ^ a b c d e "Christian_Lindner_englisch.pdf" (PDF). www.christian-lindner.de. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  8. ^ "FDP general secretary Lindner resigns". 14 December 2011.
  9. ^ Senior FDP Official Resigns: Merkel's Coalition Partner Falls Further into Crisis Spiegel Online, 14 December 2011.
  10. ^ Nordrhein-Westfalen, Landtag. "Landtag NRW: Abgeordneter Christian Lindner". www.landtag.nrw.de.
  11. ^ "Landtagswahl 2012 in NRW". www.wahlergebnisse.nrw.de.
  12. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (13 May 2012). "In Rebuke to Merkel's Party, Social Democrats Win German Vote". The New York Times.
  13. ^ tagesschau.de. "Aktuelle Nachrichten - Inland Ausland Wirtschaft Kultur Sport - ARD Tagesschau". tagesschau.de.
  14. ^ Christian Lindner [@c_lindner] (23 September 2013). "Bewerbe mich um den Parteivorsitz, um liberale Partei zu erneuern und 2017 wieder in Bundestag zu führen. Nun Phase der Besinnung. CL" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  15. ^ "FDP, a post-war fixture, is out of parliament - DW - 23.09.2013". DW.COM.
  16. ^ ALDE candidates European Voice, 8 January 2014.
  17. ^ Toby Vogel (20 January 2014), Verhofstadt, Rehn agree campaign roles European Voice.
  18. ^ Peter Spiegel (2 January 2014), Europe’s leaders divided on how to pick next EC president Financial Times.
  19. ^ Wahl der Mitglieder für die 16. Bundesversammlung Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia, decision of 14 December 2016.
  20. ^ "Elections allemandes : Christian Lindner, populiste bon teint... et faiseur de roi - 04.10.2021". L'Express.
  21. ^ Lothar Schmalen (28 November 2018), FDP-Chef Lindner sitzt jetzt im BVB-Wirtschaftsrat - kein Einzelfall Neue Westfälische.
  22. ^ "Aktive Bürgerschaft". www.aktive-buergerschaft.de. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  23. ^ "www.en.freiheit.org - Organization". www.freiheit.org. Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  24. ^ "ZDF-Fernsehrat beschneidet Politikerzahl nicht". Tagesspiegel (in German). 16 May 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  25. ^ Board of Trustees Archived 13 December 2018 at the Wayback Machine Deutsche AIDS-Stiftung.
  26. ^ Advisory Board Walther Rathenau Institute.
  27. ^ Board of Trustees NRW Foundation.
  28. ^ Troianovski, Anton (3 February 2015). "Video Rant Wins Praise for Struggling German Political Party". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  29. ^ "YouTube". www.youtube.com. Archived from the original on 1 February 2015.
  30. ^ Anton Troianovski (3 February 2015), Video Rant Wins Praise for Struggling German Political Party: Once-Influential Pro-Business Party Faces a Crucial Election The Wall Street Journal.
  31. ^ Michael Nienaber (6 October 2017), FDP leader wants tougher euro zone policy, no new German debt Reuters.
  32. ^ Online, FOCUS. "FDP-Generalsekretär heiratet Dagmar Rosenfeld". FOCUS Online (in German). Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  33. ^ "FDP-Chef: Christian Lindner ist wieder Single". Berliner Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  34. ^ Matthew Karnitschnig (18 May 2018), German liberal leader’s ‘midlife crisis’ Politico Europe.
  35. ^ "FDP leader: Christian Lindner has a new girlfriend | tellerreport.com". tellerreport.com.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by Secretary General of the Free Democratic Party
2009–2011
Succeeded by
Preceded by Leader of the Free Democratic Party in North Rhine-Westphalia
2012–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Gerhard Papke
Leader of the Free Democratic Party in the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia
2012–present
Preceded by Leader of the Free Democratic Party
2013–present