The junior party in Angela Merkel’s conservative-led coalition is in disarray after the shock resignation of a key figure, seen as a rising star.
Christian Lindner has quit as general secretary of the liberal FDP amid a divisive referendum of its members on Germany’s eurozone rescue moves.
“There comes a time when you have to make room to allow for a new dynamic,” Lindner told reporters. “The events of recent days and weeks have strengthened my belief that this is the case.”
Coalition sources said Lindner wanted to distance himself from FDP boss Philipp Roesler, the German Economy Minister. Roesler is facing criticism over his management of the vote, forced on the party leadership by a group of FDP eurosceptics. His support is also slipping among the German people, according to the latest opinion polls.