Christian Lindner

Last updated

Christian Lindner
2017-05-14 NRW Landtagswahl by Olaf Kosinsky-116.jpg
Leader of the Free Democratic Party
Assumed office
7 December 2013
General Secretary Nicola Beer
Preceded by Philipp Rösler
Leader of the Free Democratic Party in the Bundestag
Assumed office
24 October 2017
Preceded by Rainer Brüderle (2013)
Leader of the Free Democratic Party in North Rhine-Westphalia
In office
13 May 2012 27 November 2017
Preceded by Daniel Bahr
Succeeded by Joachim Stamp
Secretary General of the Free Democratic Party
In office
24 December 2009 14 December 2011
Leader Guido Westerwelle
Philipp Rösler
Preceded by Dirk Niebel
Succeeded by Patrick Döring
Member of the Bundestag
for North Rhine-Westphalia
Assumed office
24 September 2017
Constituency FDP List
In office
27 September 2009 13 May 2012
Constituency FDP List
Member of the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia
In office
13 May 2012 24 September 2017
Constituency FDP List
In office
14 May 2000 27 September 2009
Constituency FDP List
Personal details
BornChristian Wolfgang Lindner
(1979-01-07) 7 January 1979 (age 39)
Wuppertal, West Germany (present-day Germany)
Political party Free Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Dagmar Rosenfeld-Lindner
Alma mater University of Bonn
Military service
AllegianceFlag of Germany.svg  Germany
Service/branch Roundel of the German Air Force (with Border).svg Luftwaffe
Rank LD B 43 Hauptmann.svg Hauptmann

Christian Wolfgang Lindner (born 7 January 1979) is a German politician, member of the Bundestag and leader of the liberal Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP).

Germans citizens or native-born people of Germany; or people of descent to the ethnic and ethnolinguistic group associated with the German language

Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe, who share a common German ancestry, culture and history. German is the shared mother tongue of a substantial majority of ethnic Germans.

Bundestag Federal parliament of Germany

The Bundestag is the German federal parliament. It can be compared to the lower house of parliament along the lines of the United States House of Representatives, the Irish Dáil Éireann or the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, with the Bundesrat, though a separate institution, having a similar role to the upper house of a bicameral parliament.

Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they generally support civil rights, democracy, secularism, gender equality, racial equality, internationalism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and free markets.


Early life and education

Christian Lindner was born in Wuppertal, Germany. His father Wolfgang Lindner is a teacher of mathematics and computer science at the Städtisches Gymnasium in Wermelskirchen.

Wuppertal Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Wuppertal is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, in and around the Wupper valley, east of Düsseldorf and south of the Ruhr. With a population of approximately 350,000, it is the largest city in the Bergisches Land. Wuppertal is known for its steep slopes, its woods and parks, and its suspension railway, the Wuppertal Schwebebahn. It is the greenest city of Germany, with two-thirds green space of the total municipal area. From any part of the city, it is only a ten-minute walk to one of the public parks or woodland paths.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Mathematics field of study concerning quantity, patterns and change

Mathematics includes the study of such topics as quantity, structure, space, and change.

After graduating from Gymnasium in 1998 and an alternative civilian service, Christian Lindner studied political science at the University of Bonn from 1999 to 2006. [1] [2]

Gymnasium (school) type of school providing advanced secondary education in Europe

A gymnasium is a type of school with a strong emphasis on academic learning, and providing advanced secondary education in some parts of Europe comparable to British grammar schools, sixth form colleges and US preparatory high schools. In its current meaning, it usually refers to secondary schools focused on preparing students to enter a university for advanced academic study. Before the 20th century, the system of gymnasiums was a widespread feature of educational system throughout many countries of central, north, eastern, and south Europe.

Zivildienst. However the official translation in German is "alternative civilian service" as the civilian branch of the national service systems in Austria and Switzerland. In Germany Zivildienst was the alternative service to military service until suspension of conscription in 2011 as well. It is a means for conscripted persons who are conscientious objectors to fulfill their national service, typically in the fields of social work and, although rarely, environmental protection, agriculture, and public administration. As such, it is exempt from the general ban of forced labor by the European Convention on Human Rights.

University of Bonn public research university located in Bonn, Germany

The University of Bonn is a public research university located in Bonn, Germany. It was founded in its present form as the Rhein University on 18 October 1818 by Frederick William III, as the linear successor of the Kurkölnische Akademie Bonn which was founded in 1777. The University of Bonn offers a large number of undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of subjects and has 544 professors and 32,500 students. Its library holds more than five million volumes.

After eleven semesters he acquired the academic degree of Master of Arts (MA). In his master's thesis at the Institute of Political Science, he dealt with the topic: "tax competition and revenue sharing. Can the financial constitution be reformed?". [3] In 2006, he began writing his dissertation under supervision from political science professor Frank Decker, which he has so far not completed due to his political activities. [4]

A Master of Arts is a person who was admitted to a type of master's degree awarded by universities in many countries, and the degree is also named Master of Arts in colloquial speech. The degree is usually contrasted with the Master of Science. Those admitted to the degree typically study linguistics, history, communication studies, diplomacy, public administration, political science, or other subjects within the scope of the humanities and social sciences; however, different universities have different conventions and may also offer the degree for fields typically considered within the natural sciences and mathematics. The degree can be conferred in respect of completing courses and passing examinations, research, or a combination of the two.

While studying Lindner undertook his National Service obligations as a reserve officer in the Air Force. In 2002, he was promoted to First lieutenant (Oberleutnant) in the Reserve. In 2008 he was a liaison officer to the state command Landeskommando of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf and since September 2011 he has held the rank of Captain (Hauptmann) in the Reserve. [5] [6]

The Federal Republic of Germany had conscription (Wehrpflicht) for male citizens between 1956 and 2011. On 22 November 2010, the German Minister of Defence proposed to the government to put conscription into abeyance on 1 July 2011. The constitution, however, retains provisions that would legalize the potential reintroduction of conscription.

German Air Force Air warfare branch of Germanys military

The German Air Force is the aerial warfare branch of the Bundeswehr, the armed forces of Germany. With a strength of 27,767 personnel, it is the fourth largest air force within the European Union, after the air forces of the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. Although its budget has been significantly reduced since the end of the Cold War in 1989–1990, the Luftwaffe is still among the best-equipped air forces in the world.

Oberleutnant (OF-1a) is the highest lieutenant officer rank in the armed forces of Germany (Bundeswehr), Austrian Armed Forces, and Military of Switzerland.

Early political career

Lindner joined the FDP in 1995. [7] He has been a member of the Executive Board of the FDP in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia since 1998 and became Secretary General in 2004 (until February 2010). [8] At the May 2000 election for the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia, the 21-year old Lindner was elected, becoming the youngest MP in the history of the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia. [9] Lindner was from 2000 initially 'spokesman for Intergenerational Affairs, Family and Integration' and then from 2005 to 2009 was also vice chairman of the FDP parliamentary group in the parliament and spokesman for Innovation, Science and Technology. In 2007 he also became a member of the Executive Board of the FDP on federal level.

From 2009 Lindner served as a member of the German Bundestag. In the negotiations to form a coalition government following the 2009 federal elections, he was part of the FDP delegation in the working group on families, integration of immigrants and culture, led by Maria Böhmer and Hans-Joachim Otto.

From December 2009 until his surprise resignation [10] in December 2011, Lindner was also Secretary General of the FDP on federal level, under the leadership of party chairman Philipp Rösler. [11] His resignation was caused by an internal party vote which had been forced by a group centered around the Eurosceptic FDP parliamentarian Frank Schäffler to determine the FDP's future course on questions pertaining to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). [12]

Lindner was later chosen to serve as Chairman of the NRW FDP in the 2012 state election of North Rhine-Westphalia, succeeding Daniel Bahr. [13] In the election, the FDP received 8.6% of the vote, [14] surpassing all expectations at the time. [15] Following the party's victory at that election he was elected Parliamentary leader of the FDP in the NRW Landtag, succeeding Gerhard Papke on 15 May 2012. In March 2013, he was elected one of Rösler’s deputies, alongside Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and Holger Zastrow.

FDP Chairman

Linder was elected the new chairman of the FDP following the resignation of Chairman Philipp Rösler after the 2013 German federal elections [16] [17] in which the FDP failed to clear the 5% hurdle to enter the Bundestag for the first time since 1949. [18]

Ahead of the 2014 European elections, Lindner and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte served as ‘mediators’ between Olli Rehn and Guy Verhofstadt, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe’s candidates for the presidency of the European Commission; [19] eventually, the candidates agreed to jointly lead the ALDE’s campaign for elections, with Verhofstadt running to succeed José Manuel Barroso. [20] At the time, Linder was widely regarded to support Rehn. [21]

Lindner was a FDP delegate to the Federal Convention for the purpose of electing the President of Germany in 2017, where he endorsed the government's candidate Frank-Walter Steinmeier. [22] That same year, he led his party's successful campaign for the 2017 state elections of North Rhine-Westphalia, which resulted in the FDP joining the state government of incoming Minister-President Armin Laschet. Linder himself did not take a position in the new government because of his aim to lead the FDP back to the Bundestag in September 2017, which he achieved with a result of 10.7%. After that success he was elected leader of the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag.

In October 2017, Angela Merkel's CDU and Katrin Göring-Eckardt's and Cem Özdemir's Greens started negotiations with the FDP to form a government, in which Lindner was widely seen as the future Minister of Finance, as the CDU had even nominated the former Minister Wolfgang Schäuble as President of the Bundestag to make place for the FDP. Such a coalition was the only realistic possibility to form a government (except for a Grand coalition) but had almost never been used before on any regional level in Germany. In November 2017, after midnight, Lindner and his party left the already prolonged negotiations after four unsuccessful weeks, which led to the longest government formation in German history and finally in March 2018 once more to a Grand Coalition with the SPD, which had previously rejected any participation in the new government.

Other activities

Political positions


In early 2015, an impassioned response to heckling by Lindner, defending entrepreneurs and startup culture made it onto newspaper front pages and became one of the most watched political speeches in months. Lindner was speaking before the state legislature in North Rhine-Westphalia about the importance of entrepreneurship and how failed entrepreneurs deserve a second chance when a Social Democratic member in the audience heckled: “That [failure] is something you have experience in.” That was a reference to an Internet company co-founded by Lindner that failed after the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s. Lindner responded with a finger-wagging, 2½-minute tirade. “If one succeeds, one ends up in the sights of the Social Democratic redistribution machinery and, if one fails, one can be sure of derision and mockery,” he responded, also pointing out that this particular member preferred to have a secure job in public service for his entire life, rather than daring to found a company, and how the message of that heckling attempt was the total opposite of what had been announced just minutes earlier by the president of the state legislature (who happened to be an SPD member, just like the heckler). [30] [31]

Bild , the highest-circulation daily newspaper in Germany, praised Lindner on its front page. The Berlin daily Tagesspiegel said the rant offered a welcome contrast to the “persistent fog of alternative-less Merkelism” that characterized debate in the Bundestag. [32]

Financial policy

Shortly after the 2017 elections, Lindner ruled out taking on new debt to manage the balancing act of cutting income taxes and increasing investment on digital infrastructure. He criticized outgoing Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble for not being tough enough on Greece and not cutting income taxes for middle-class workers. [33]

Personal life

In 2011, Lindner married journalist Dagmar Rosenfeld; they had started dating in 2009. [34] [35] On 19 April 2018 they announced their separation. [36]

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  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  3. (In german: Steuerwettbewerb und Finanzausgleich. Kann die Finanzverfassung reformiert werden?), »Bambi« legt los., Der Spiegel, 29 November 2004.
  4. Daniel Dettling (Hrsg.): Minima Moralia der nächsten Gesellschaft. Standpunkte eines neuen Generationenvertrags. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2009, ISBN   978-3-531-16475-5, S. 168.
  5. Verbindungsoffizier zum Landeskommando . In: Rheinische Post. 26. Juli 2008.
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  12. Senior FDP Official Resigns: Merkel's Coalition Partner Falls Further into Crisis Spiegel Online , December 14, 2011.
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  15. Kulish, Nicholas (May 13, 2012). "In Rebuke to Merkel's Party, Social Democrats Win German Vote". The New York Times .
  16. "Aktuelle Nachrichten - Inland Ausland Wirtschaft Kultur Sport - ARD Tagesschau".
  17. Christian Lindner [@c_lindner] (23 September 2013). "Bewerbe mich um den Parteivorsitz, um liberale Partei zu erneuern und 2017 wieder in Bundestag zu führen. Nun Phase der Besinnung. CL" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  18. (, Deutsche Welle. "FDP, a post-war fixture, is out of parliament - DW - 23.09.2013". DW.COM.
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  26. Board of Trustees Deutsche AIDS-Stiftung.
  27. Advisory Board Walther Rathenau Institute.
  28. Board of Trustees NRW Foundation.
  29. "Biography_Christian_Lindner_englisch.pdf" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-05-23.[ permanent dead link ]
  30. Troianovski, Anton (2015-02-03). "Video Rant Wins Praise for Struggling German Political Party". Wall Street Journal. ISSN   0099-9660 . Retrieved 2015-05-23.
  31. "YouTube".
  32. Anton Troianovski (February 3, 2015), Video Rant Wins Praise for Struggling German Political Party: Once-Influential Pro-Business Party Faces a Crucial Election The Wall Street Journal .
  33. Michael Nienaber (October 6, 2017), FDP leader wants tougher euro zone policy, no new German debt Reuters .
  34. Online, FOCUS. "FDP-Generalsekretär heiratet Dagmar Rosenfeld". FOCUS Online (in German). Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  35. "FDP-Chef: Christian Lindner ist wieder Single". Berliner Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  36. Matthew Karnitschnig (May 18, 2018), German liberal leader’s ‘midlife crisis’ Politico Europe .
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dirk Niebel
Secretary General of the Free Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Patrick Döring
Preceded by
Daniel Bahr
Leader of the Free Democratic Party in North Rhine-Westphalia
Preceded by
Gerhard Papke
Leader of the Free Democratic Party in the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia
Preceded by
Philipp Rösler
Leader of the Free Democratic Party