Germany’s Free Democrats, tried to muster a sense of unity at a make-or-break rally on Sunday, two weeks ahead of a key regional election.
In-fighting and criticism of FDP leader Philipp Rösler is having a marked effect on voter support which has plummeted to four per cent from 15 per cent in just two year.
If things do not improve they could be kicked out of parliament.
Development Minister Dirk Niebel said: “It tears me up, when I watch the situation of our FDP, I think we cannot put off any longer some important decisions.”
Rainer Brüderle has already indicated he is ready to take the helm – accusing Rösler of failing to inspire the party.
Rösler’s response was to go on the counterattack saying that criticism of his leadership had “gone too far and crossed the boundaries of constructive debate”.
If the FDP’s fortunes fail to improve Chancellor Angela Merkel will be forced to look elsewhere for a coalition partner. In the meantime, as she began her party’s campaign in Lower Saxony, she is hoping the FDP will keep up and win vital assembly seats in the regional poll later this month.