At first glance, Volker Wissing doesn’t look like someone who’s on it.
He is distant, friendly and always expresses himself very objectively.
Unlike, for example, party leader Christian Lindner, who likes to roll up his shirt sleeves for interview photos or pose in white sneakers, Wissing always relies on the classics - dark suits and ties.
For pragmatic reasons, as he says: He has many appointments a day and simply doesn't have the time to move.
The 50-year-old man from Palatinate appears extremely correct, almost like a tax official.
Rather cautious and deliberate, but not like a typical secretary general, whose job usually includes attracting attention.
Wissing is to be officially elected to office at today's federal party conference.
A mammoth task awaits the lawyer: he should sharpen the profile of the stumbling party for the federal election campaign - with his financial and economic expertise.
The situation of the liberals is (once again) not good: several elections were recently lost, in surveys the FDP is dangerously close to the five percent mark and, as in 2013, has to fear that it will miss its re-entry into the Bundestag.
The negative headlines about the liberal Thomas Kemmerich, who was elected Prime Minister in Thuringia with votes from the AfD, also contributed to this.
Christian Lindner, the campaign star of 2017, seems tense and unimaginative.
Now Lindner's hapless general secretary Linda Teuteberg has to go after only a year in office.
She should make the FDP more empathetic, as a young, combative woman from the East, improve the image of the cool men's club.
The sober Rhineland-Palatinate Minister of Economics, Volker Wissing, is moving to her post - according to the official reasoning, because the situation in the country has changed due to Corona and the time requires a different focus.
In order to lead Germany out of the "economic, health, job and opportunity crisis", as it is called in the main proposal for the federal party congress, according to party leader Lindner, it needs "economic substance" and "governance".
This is what Wissing stands for.
It will probably be confirmed by a large majority at the party congress.
"Private before the state"
Because the father embodies a certain security for the FDP.
He is not a man for experiments, but rather one for the regular electorate.
He has been valued by the party for his expertise for years and is a classic business liberal who sees the middle class as the "engine of the economy" and demonizes "tax increases as a brake on economic recovery".
Wissing calls for government interventions in companies to be scaled back as quickly as possible after the corona crisis and openly shows his skepticism towards state-driven economic activity.
This is also very clearly expressed in the key proposal for the party congress, which Wissing co-authored: It promotes an "economic miracle strategy" with which the "forces of the social market economy" are to be revitalized.
The FDP wants to continue to rely on the freedom of the economy in the Corona crisis, while other parties rely more on the strong state.
Wissing justifies this with the core brand of the FDP: the protection of individual freedom of choice, from which the principle "private before state" is derived.
From a liberal point of view, restrictions on individual freedom of choice should be "limited to the absolutely necessary minimum," he told the
before the party congress.
Wissing comes from Landau in the Palatinate, he grew up in the country, his parents ran a winery and raised him very liberally, as he says.
Even today, the 50-year-old is characterized by a love for rural areas, the father of a daughter likes to be outside, likes gardening and chops the wood for the tiled stove himself. As a hobby cook, he bakes bread in the traditional way.
Wissing is a different type than party leader Lindner, who is famous for his brilliant rhetoric, his love of sports cars, but also a certain dashing.
The FDP, which wants to position itself more broadly before the federal election, apparently wants to use that for itself.
Part of the narrow party leadership
Since Wissing is currently Deputy Prime Minister in a traffic light coalition in Rhineland-Palatinate, his nomination was generally seen as a signal to the SPD and the Greens.
Wissing also has great political experience in other areas: between 2004 and 2013, Wissing was a member of the Bundestag and was considered a financial expert for the Bundestag faction.
He is assigned to the liberal-conservative economic wing of the party.
In addition, Wissing heads the FDP Federal Committee for Finances, Taxes and Budget, with which he already gives the party impetus on these issues.
Observers agreed that it would only be a matter of time before Wissing returned to federal politics. With the departure of the FDP from the federal government, the financial expert remained part of the narrower party leadership in Berlin, but devoted himself more to state politics and led the liberals in Rhineland-Palatinate back to the state parliament. There were apparently several talks about his return to federal politics. In 2017, Wissing, who was also present at the Jamaica explorations in Berlin, turned down an offer from Christian Lindner and decided to remain in state politics for the time being.