The Bavarian state election in Germany will be held on Oct. 14. This election is of critical importance for both Germany and the European Union since Bavaria is not an ordinary German state; it is more prosperous than many EU countries and thus one of the most economically significant.
Bavaria also has a special importance in the political context of Germany, since the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) is the only party which has been able to remain in power for decades.
The CSU is the sister party of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) operating only in Bavaria while the CDU operates in 15 other states in Germany. On a federal level, the CDU and the CSU determine the chancellor by joining various coalitions with a strong vote share when necessary. Angela Merkel is a chancellor partly because she is the chair of the CDU. Formerly, although the CSU chairs did run for chancellorship as a joint candidate of the CDU and the CSU, none of them were elected.
All the minister and presidents of Bavaria have been from the CSU. To put it in other words, the CSU has been the only ruling power in Bavaria for decades.
Being more conservative than its counterpart CDU, the CSU's main principle has been to continue to be the party with the sharpest right-wing tendencies within the constraints of democracy. But this situation has changed with the election success of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) recently. Comprising of many former CDU and CSU members, the AfD has turned into a major threat in Bavaria as of late.
All the surveys conducted on the Oct. 14 election show that the CSU has no chance of coming to power alone this time. This change will probably lead to a major political turbulence in Germany.
The AfD, which is particularly against Merkel's refugee policy, has been enjoying a growing popularity with its xenophobic and eurosceptic discourses. So, a part of the electorate comprising the base of the CDU and the CSU might lean toward the AfD, which can offer an alternative for the CSU base that has problems with Merkel for the same reasons.
While the slogan, "The way to get rid of Merkel is through electing the AfD in Bavaria," brings success to the AfD, it also shows who the CSU will hold accountable in a possible defeat.
Recent polls indicate that the CSU's vote share will be around 33 percent, whereas the AfD will be the third party with 14 percent and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) will lose its influence by receiving only 10 percent.
The real winner of the Bavarian election is likely to be the Greens with 18 percent. And the Free Democratic Party (FDP) swings between 5 and 5.5 percent. The Left's vote share is also around 4.5 percent. The Free Voters of Bavaria, who has existed thanks to the CSU dissidence, is likely to be the most suitable coalition partner for the CSU with its 10 percent vote share.
A CSU-Greens coalition is possible although it will be a big surprise for Germany. A coalition with the AfD, on the other hand, is unthinkable since it will be detrimental to the CSU.
The most reasonable coalition for the CSU might be CSU-Free Voters-Free Democratic Party (FDP) combination.
But in any case, the AfD will have an upper hand in the state parliament. So, nothing will be the same again in Bavaria and Germany.
The failure of the CSU might be the harbinger of federal-level turmoil. As of Oct. 15, we must be ready for new discussion topics related to the issue of the chancellor, coalition questions as well as Germany's policies on Europe and especially on the refugees.
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