The news comes as a surprise: Michael Kruse, state chairman of the FDP in Hamburg, no longer wants to. The former parliamentary group leader and current member of the Bundestag declared in a very personal letter to the members on Wednesday that he would not run again for the office of state chairman at the party conference on April 1st and 2nd.
He made the decision after careful consideration, writes Kruse in the two-page paper that is available to WELT. His Bundestag mandate required a great deal of attention last year and will continue to do so. "Energy policy is the area of the coalition that requires the most intensive consultation and legislation, and therefore requires a high level of personal commitment on a daily basis, into the nights and at weekends."
Such a situation could not have been foreseen two years ago, when Kruse was elected state chairman. He "frequently felt over the past year that both the FDP state presidency and my Bundestag mandate require and deserve a great deal of time and commitment." Years ago I was able to pay far less political attention to Hamburg politics "than this would be good and helpful for our association and than I expect from a state chairman."
In the next two years, the elections for the European Parliament and for the district assemblies will be held in Hamburg. In February 2025, a new parliament will be elected in the Hanseatic city. From the district assembly elections, the party hopes to be present in all seven districts again, in order to be able to regain citizenship a year later. In 2020, the Elbe Liberals failed at the five percent hurdle. The FDP currently has two members of parliament, but no parliamentary group.
According to Kruse, in view of the tasks in the next two years, he "came to the conclusion that this office should best be placed in the hands of a person over the next few years who can give it the attention it needs."
It is currently difficult for those outside the party to predict who could succeed Kruse in office. In the past year, the party had made many headlines with internal quarrels. The trigger for the months-long relentless dispute between four young liberals and the state executive around party leader Kruse was that the former July boss Carl Cevin-Key Coste in the spring of 2022 Kruse's announcement of a lawsuit against the Hamburg corona hotspot regulation as a "PR campaign and a constitutional party unworthy” had criticized.
After further verbal accusations from and against the Julis, the board launched a party exclusion procedure against the critics - which is why they in turn hired the former Interior Minister Gerhart Baum (FDP) as a lawyer and initiated arbitration proceedings.
In his letter, Kruse only indirectly addresses the dispute, which has been quiet for the past few months. In his letter, he thanks "all members who have supported the work of the state board over the past two years". They would have "worked out visibility, effectiveness and creative freedom" for the Free Democrats in Hamburg. It makes her confident that the party "focuses for the most part on the substantive work for the people in our city".