Christian Lindner on Germany: What would the FDP do?

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THERE is a decent chance that the pro-business Free Democrats will join the next German government under Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), either as her sole coalition partner or alongside the Greens in a so-called "Jamaica" formation (black-yellow-green, like the flag). It would be a remarkable comeback for a party that crashed out of the Bundestag in 2013; a revival that I explain in this week's issue.But what would that mean, for Germany and the world? Last week I sat down with Christian Lindner, the party's leader, for a wide-ranging discussion about Germany, its domestic and foreign policies and the FDP itself. The full transcript is here. We met in the shadow of Cologne Cathedral, in his home state of North-Rhine Westphalia. It was our second recent meeting. Earlier I had joined him on the campaign trail in Frankfurt, where he brought a crowd of students to its feet with a spirited paean to liberalism.Where does Mr Lindner stand, really? Founded shortly after the war by old liberals from the pre-Nazi era, the FDP has several intellectual tendencies: social liberal, classic liberal, free-market conservative. The balance between them has shifted throughout the party's history; partly in line with its coalitions. It has governed most often with Christian Democrats like Konrad …

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