Merkel’s Conservative Ally CSU Lose Absolute Majority in Bavaria’s Election
The CSU prefers to form a ruling coalition with the liberal pro-business Free Democrats Party which has just surpassed the 5% parliamentary threshold.
The conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU, won 37.2% of the votes in Bavaria’s general election on Sunday, 12 percentage points lower than in the 2013 election.
Thus, the CSU lost its absolute majority in the state parliament. The right-wing party has held the position of Minister-President of Bavaria since 1957, and has ruled on its own since 1966 (except 2008 – 2013 when it ruled in a coalition with the FDP).
The CSU’s result is still slightly better than the 33% forecast by the latest public opinion polls before the election.
The Greens became the second largest political party in Bavaria on Sunday, surging to 17.5%, DW reports.
The right-wing Free Voters came in third with 11.6% of the votes followed by the far right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party which scored 10.2%.
The Bavarian state elections proved expectedly disastrous for Germany’s largest leftist party, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), with only 9.7%.
The liberal, pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) was also forecast to pass the 5% threshold needed to enter the Bavarian Parliament.
Thus, the CSU, who leader is Germany’s Interior Minister in the fourth Merkel Cabinet, Horst Seehofer, is projected to gain between 74 and 83 of the 192 – 200 seats in the state parliament.
“Of course it’s not easy to separate ourselves from what’s going on nationally,” Bavarian State Premier (Minister President) Markus Söder said after the results were announced.
“The main priority is to form a stable government for Bavaria as quickly as possible, and we accept that task,” he added.
He also hinted that the CSU would prefer a coalition with the FDI although it is still unclear that for the time it is still unclear if their combined votes would be enough for an absolute majority.
A coalition with the left-leaning Greens has not been ruled out but both parties have made it clear they have reservations towards one another.
The secretary general of Merkel’s CDU, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, blamed the drop in the conservatives’ votes in Bavaria on recent “quarrels” within the governing coalition, a hint at Seehofer’s criticism of the Chancellor’s policies.
While the vote in Bavaria might have some “taming” effect on Germany’s Interior Minister, however, the result is still seen as a blow to Merkel.
Another German state, Hesse, is set to hold a general election on October 28, 2018, with polls suggesting Merkel’s CDU might be unable to score more than 30% of the votes.
With the Bavarian election results, the far right AfD party is now represented in 15 out of Germany’s 16 state parliaments, and it is also expected to enter the parliament in Hesse.
(Banner image: CSU on Twitter)