Five days left to Super-Election-Sunday, on which voters in three German states elect their new parliaments. While polls show that the two major political parties, the conservatives and the social democrats, are massively losing votes, several smaller parties rise in popularity. In an interview with Corduene, Liberal politician Tobias Huch (FDP) explains why he thinks that his party is the only serious alternative in Germany.
Corduene: Welcome Mr. Huch, glad you could make it.
Huch: Thank you for having me.
Corduene: After the 2013 election loss your party has managed to regain some trust amongst the voters. How come?
Huch: The FDP has completely reinvented itself. For years, people perceived us as a party with focus on only some limited topics. But our new liberal roadmap is very clear and shows the right direction. Not only are we happy about it, but also many citizens.
Corduene: “Party of the Rich”, that’s what people said about your party in the past. You are a businessman yourself. Were people right?
Huch: This rumor was never right. The FDP is the typical middle class party. The party of those who want to take their fate into their own hands. If there is such a “Party of the Rich” then it’s obviously the Greens who use their Porsche Cayenne Turbo to get to the next recycling depot.
Corduene: Lecture halls at universities have been totally overcrowded for years and the equipment leaves definitely a lot to be desired. Are there any suggested solutions coming from the Liberals?
Huch: We’ve got a wide range of ideas and approaches. Firstly, we need better funding and more flexibility for the universities. Secondly, we also want the non-university “Meister-degree” to be worth the same as the master’s degree from universities. This means that a good apprenticeship is as much encouraged. Good universities are not built by college or university graduates, but by diligent masons, carpenters, roofers and others.
Corduene: What about financial support for students? Besides costs for learning materials, students have to pay high apartment rents, which they can barely afford. And due to lack of funds many students cannot even afford a semester abroad.
Huch: The big problem are tuition fees which we reject. Although it is good when students gain working experience, their incitement should not be the lack of money. Therefore, we also call for an education grant which is independent of the students’ parents’ income.
Corduene: Let’s switch to another topic. Your posts on social media cause a lot of heated discussions. You were also threatened many times. Tell us more about it.
Huch: I speak a plain language. This does not suit many intolerant people. Threats come from the entire spectrum of fascism. Right-wing extremists, Turkish AKP fanatics, ISIS-sympathizers, Gray Wolves, Salafists. You know you did everything right as a liberal democrat, when such groups hate you. These threats confirm me in what I’m doing.
Corduene: You support the Kurds in their war against the so-called “Islamic State”. How would you asses Germany’s and the West’s role in this context?
Huch: The support for the Peshmerga is good and necessary, but the Kurds need a lot more backing – all Kurds. The human rights situation in Turkey is frightening and Erdogan’s successful fight against the Kurdish anti-ISIS fighters in western Kurdistan (Rojava) is just terrible.
Corduene: Does your party have the same stance as you on this topic?
Corduene: Germany had to take in more than one million refugees last year. Many citizens wonder what the long-term consequences will be and if it is really necessary to take in that many people.
Huch: People fleeing war have to receive temporary protection until the war is over. These are our values. We don’t defend those values when we reject threatened humans who are in need. However, an equitable distribution of refugees throughout Europe is appropriate. And above all, we have to fight the causes of the flight in the refugee’s homelands. If people are well taken care of in their own regions, there will be no reason to flee to Europe.
Corduene: According to a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation, Germany needs large-scale immigration to compensate for the low birth rates in the country and to relieve welfare and social systems. Do parties like the right-wing AfD keep these facts secret from their voters?
Huch: The AfD only uses populist slogans like “foreigners out”, they have no real solutions to anything. We should also not confuse immigration with the current refugee crisis. To rebuild the war-torn countries, those fled professionals are needed way more in their homelands than here in Germany.
Corduene: Mr. Huch, how will your party perform on Sunday? Any predictions?
Huch: I expect a seven before the point, but I hope for an even better result. For a real alternative every vote is important. An alternative against hatred and for our humanist values.
Corduene: Thank you very much for your time.
Huch: Thank you and don’t miss to vote!