Status: 11/13/2021 5:50 p.m.
The Young Liberals have clear ideas about the possible traffic light government. That is why they will “watch the fingers” of their mother party, the FDP. At their federal congress, they didn’t let their hair down on the Union.
Adhere to the debt brake, introduce parent-independent BAföG, more digitization – some of what the Young Liberals want seems to find a place in the new coalition agreement. Most of the members are satisfied with the traffic light negotiations so far. But one thing is also clear: “We will keep an eye on the FDP” and “you will hear from us”. By “you” are meant the party leadership and the public.
What sounds like a threat is meant as critical and constructive support for the mother party, emphasizes the new federal chairman of the Young Liberals, Franziska Brandmann.
Membership growth at the JuLis
Brandmann is 27 years old, comes from North Rhine-Westphalia, has been involved with the Young Liberals (JuLis for short) for twelve years and was elected head of the youth association at the federal congress in Erlangen.
The previous chairman, Jens Teutrine, no longer stood for election. He moved into the Bundestag in September and is currently working in two working groups on the new coalition agreement with the SPD and the Greens. According to their own information, the Young Liberals are represented by 13 members in the new parliament. You have weight in the FDP, for example, you also sit on the federal executive board.
The membership of the Young Liberals has risen significantly recently and has almost doubled in the past six years. This year in particular there was a surge to 13,500 members.
Young liberals present themselves confidently at the federal congress
Jörg Hertle, BR, daily news 5:00 p.m., 11/13/2021
Success with young voters
The great success of the FDP with young voters in the federal election is also thanks to the JuLis, of which the previous chairman Teutrine is convinced. Among the first-time voters, the FDP was even at the top. Tied with the Greens, they got the most votes in this group. In a representative by-election survey by infratest dimap, both parties received 23 percent of the votes in the first-time voters.
What looks like a big surprise at first glance is actually just a small one. The Liberals already achieved high scores among young voters in previous elections. As early as the 2017 election campaign, the FDP increasingly focused on topics such as digitization and education – topics that are particularly important for young people.
With their criticism of the Corona measures, the liberals also scored points in young age groups. In addition, the liberals know how social media works. Like the Greens, they were strongly represented there in the election campaign. Where the young voters are.
Make the difference
The new federal chairwoman Brandmann and her predecessor Teutrine are aware of the responsibility that comes with success. “We advocated that it makes a difference if you vote for the FDP. Now it really has to make a difference,” said Teutrine.
The young liberals want to make sure that their election promises are reflected in a possible traffic light coalition agreement. These include the expansion of digitization, the modernization of the education system and a comprehensive pension reform.
Reform backlog – the Union is responsible
The Union was particularly sharply criticized at the Federal Congress of Young Liberals. The reform backlog observed in Germany is blamed on the young liberals of the party that the chancellor had for 16 years. In Germany, the tax burden is particularly high, but schools, for example, are in a catastrophic state in many places.
In addition, there was criticism of Corona measures such as curfews and school closings. From the perspective of the Young Liberals, these had not been expedient or proportionate in the past.
“We are the market economy conscience”
The JuLis are quite satisfied with the present traffic light exploratory paper, but not happy. Many members are still suspicious of what actually ends up in the coalition agreement and to what extent. Even if several members such as Teutrine are working on the coalition negotiations and trying to negotiate in the interests of the young voters, it remains open what the chief negotiators will ultimately adopt in the coalition agreement in the coming days from the working papers of the numerous working groups.
In any case, the young liberals want to keep an eye on the FDP’s fingers and see themselves as a corrective if the liberals in a possible coalition with the SPD and the Greens come under too much pressure to compromise. When the traffic light comes, the young liberals see themselves as the “market economy conscience”. After all, there are other political youth organizations that dream, for example, of a system change and expropriations, says Treutine. “We will have to use the counterpart as JuLis.”
They want to work to ensure that the necessary market economy reforms such as a financially stable pension system actually come now. When it comes to climate policy, the Young Liberals reject many of the Greens’ ideas. Others would want regulations and bureaucracy; they see market-based instruments as the solution to the climate crisis. Jens Teutrine: “I am surprised when the political competitor thinks we can solve the crisis through de-industrialization, renunciation and bans. I do not believe that another country will fall behind us if we forego our prosperity.”
Space for the topics of young people
In addition to “critical-constructive” looking at what the FDP is doing in a government, the new federal chairman Brandmann wants to further develop the parent party and make it more modern. The issues of young people must find sufficient space in the FDP.
Brandmann, for example, expects “a pension reform that has washed up” from a new government. And she already announces: “We will drive the FDP in front of us in terms of content” – if necessary. Indeed, one can expect to hear from her and the Young Liberals again soon.
Federal Congress of Young Liberals: Summary of the day
Jan Zimmermann, ARD Berlin, currently Erlangen, November 13th, 2021 4:50 p.m.