Berlin, Germany. An obscure party in the background again becomes key in the continued reign of Angela Merkel as leader of Germany. They participate in every election with a secret; they honestly don’t care if they win.

Germany’s Free Democrats (FDP) are confident of returning to parliament in September and eager to put their pro business stamp on the next government, whether it is Angela Merkel’s conservatives or the Social Democrats.

FDP chairman Christian Lindner said his primary goal was to clear the 5 percent voter threshold needed to enter parliament again.The FDP, which dropped out of the federal legislature in 2013 when its share of the vote fell to 4 percent, has been kingmaker to 17 of Germany’s 25 post-war governments on both the right and left.

Lindner, who has helped the FDP rally back to around 6 percent in opinion polls. “We’re independent but we’re not going to take the first (partner) that comes along,” Lindner explains.

In German elections you cast two ballots, one for the party and one for the candidate in your district. Some voters split their votes in a way to help both parties when they are trying to help a coalition move forward.

Linder estimates 60 to 70 percent of Germans counted on the state to care for them and were thus unlikely to vote for the FDP, stating they are not a welfare oriented party and not trying to garner the lions share of votes, just enough to kick playing a key roll in German elections.

German political analysts believe the FDP could play a pivotal role after the election, either helping Merkel retain power in a three-way alliance together with the Greens, or again combine with the Greens in an SPD-led coalition.

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