Former Federal Minister of the Interior Gerhart Baum (FDP) sees the liberals’ easing of the corona pandemic as one of the reasons for the poor performance in the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia. From the beginning, the FDP was the “relaxation party”, wrote the 89-year-old politician in a guest article for the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”. This attitude drove the FDP to the extreme and gave the impression that it did not take the threat posed by the virus seriously. That cost votes – “especially among the elderly”.

FDP Education Minister Yvonne Gebauer also “constantly irritated the parents of school-age children – driven by the rather populist Freedom Day hype”. Baum accused the FDP of having an “absurd understanding of freedom” in connection with the corona pandemic. The party had rejected “necessary protective tasks of the state”. The FDP, previously the coalition partner of the CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia, fell to 5.9 percent in the state elections (2017: 12.6).

Another reason for the FDP’s poor election result is that the Free Democrats “have not developed and presented themselves convincingly as a party of the future,” said Baum. When it came to the core issue of the election campaign – the combination of a climate-friendly energy policy with economic power and jobs – the FDP was “not visible”. “The FDP must not continue like this in this situation,” demanded the former Liberal.