FDP look to make friends through money

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The centre FDP party is looking to attract disaffected members from both left and right who believe in the primacy of economic liberalism

Germany's liberal centre FDP party recently created a new twist in the saga of expelled former SPD minister Wolfgang Clement by offering the disaffected socialist  a new home.

In a similar move, FDP leader Guido Westerweile is set to meet CDU outcast and financial expert Friedrich Merz in what media commentators have described as "being bound together by economics."

Although the FDP has a broader political outlook with characteristically centre views on issues, its core is made up of those who see the world from a purely financial view, often seeing problems and solutions across the board as economic.

Merz is a long time campaigner for simplification of the welfare system and the removal of the tax burden, famously saying that German citizens should be able "to calculate their tax on the back of a beer mat."

It is said that Merz, despite being a well known and respected political figure, feels somewhat ostracized  within his own party, where his views on economics and tax are not popular among the current leadership.

The parallels between Merz's case and the recent strife within the SPD surrounding Clement have not been lost on the press.

The tabloid Bild asked Thursday, "Is the CDU fighting its own case of Clement"? Whilst Merz is no longer a central figure in the CDU, his record would mean that any defection might cause embarrassment for Chancellor Angel Merkel's party.

In July Guido Westerweille told broadcaster ZDF that he admires Merz, saying: " I value Friedrich Merz as a very clever person. There are two few in the union [CDU] who don't want to follow the path towards a bureaucratic  state economy"


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