What do liberals think of Angela Merkel

Not more than ten years : Liberals want to limit the term of office of the chancellor

The demand is easy for the FDP and yet it has it all: If the Liberals have their way, there will soon be no more long-term chancellors like Helmut Kohl or Angela Merkel (both CDU). In a first draft of their program for the Bundestag election, the Free Democrats are calling for the term of office of the German head of government to be limited to two legislative terms. "We Free Democrats want to limit the term of office of Federal Chancellors to a maximum of two full terms or a maximum of ten years," quotes the newsletter "The Pioneer" from the draft of the FDP program commission.

The Hans-Dietrich-Genscher-Haus does not want to comment on the paper. How it got outside and what exactly is inside, one does not want to explain in the FDP party headquarters on request. Just so much: The draft for the official FDP program is still in progress. It was not until April 12 that the party leadership wanted to discuss the election program and adopt it with the key proposal for the federal party congress from May 14 to 16.

The fact that a first draft has already leaked this week should not be a coincidence, however. Shortly before the important state elections in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, the Free Democrats cannot damage the attention - on the contrary: demands such as limiting the term of office for chancellors make people sit up and take notice.

Younger voters, fewer MPs

In addition, the Liberals want to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 years - a proposal that was passed under pressure from the Young Liberals (JuLis) at the party conference in September 2020. The FDP also wants to push through a downsizing of the Bundestag. So there should be only 250 instead of the previous 299 constituencies. From a liberal point of view, this is also an easy demand: the free democrats generally do not win any direct mandates.

At the European level, too, the liberals want less instead of more: the EU Commission is to be reduced to 18 commissioners. The European Parliament should only meet in one place, instead of Brussels and Strasbourg.

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Government revenues and expenditures play a central role in the draft program. With a “noticeable tax cut”, the FDP is offering a liberal classic: levies such as vehicle, sparkling wine, beer or coffee taxes are to be abolished. For those who buy a property for their own use, the FDP wants to abolish real estate transfer tax of up to 500,000 euros. The top tax rate should “only apply from an income of 90,000 euros” and the tax burden for companies should not exceed 25 percent of the OECD average.

2.5 billion euros more for education

The Liberals want to invest one percent of the revenue from VAT in education. That should bring an annual plus of 2.5 billion euros for schools and universities. Schoolchildren and daycare children from precarious backgrounds want the FDP to pay a “German Dream” grant. Adults are to be subsidized with a 1000 Euro “Midlife BaföG” further training.

At the same time, the FDP wants to cap federal social spending to 50 percent. The corona debts of the public sector should be settled as quickly as possible - with a "redemption turbo". The Free Democrats also want to reduce the debt ratio quickly - to less than 60 percent of economic strength.

For the liberal core issues of reducing bureaucracy and digitization, the Free Democrats are offering some new suggestions: digital ambassadors should keep an eye out for new technology trends around the world. In future, the German tax offices are to send out completed tax returns (“easy tax”), which citizens only have to confirm.

With the draft program, the FDP is setting the direction of its own election campaign, which is apparently supposed to offer new things in addition to the classic economic topics. After the SPD, the Liberals are the second party in the Bundestag to make a name for itself with an election program at the beginning of the super election year. FDP leader Christian Lindner recently had little praise for the SPD program. Lindner recently paid “literary respect” only to the shortage of the 48-page program of the Social Democrats. The draft of his program committee is more than three times as long. The FDP paper should comprise 170 pages.

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