MUNICH. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, head of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), junior partner in Germany's ruling conservative-liberal coalition, has dismissed polls reflecting his party's dramatic dive in popularity as poor "snapshots", reports Bild newspaper.
According to recent Forsa Opinion Research Institute studies, the FDP's approval rating has plunged nationwide from last year's high of 18 percent to a current 5 percent, the minumum needed for representation in the Bundestag. Westerwelle claimed that his party has had to shoulder responsibility for recent unpopular measures aimed at reining in government spending and stabilizing the euro. However, some regional FDP groups identify Westerwelle himself as the main problem: speculation about his possible replacement was voiced openly in yesterday's Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung by Jörg-Uwe Hahn, head of the FDP in Hesse.