As the Christian Social Union prepares for the upcoming Bavarian state election on September 15, it will seek to carry on the positive momentum from its recent party conference held in Munich. President Horst Seehofer will be presiding over a confident and unified party that hopes to win an absolute majority and thereby govern the state of Bavaria alone.
In the last election in 2008, it fared poorly and was, after 46 years of uninterrupted rule, forced to form a coalition with the Free Democratic Party (FDP). The event was a landmark in Bavarian political history.
This time the CSU's perennial challenger, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) stands a better chance than in previous elections. Its candidate, the long-time mayor of Munich, Christian Ude, hopes to unseat Mr. Seehofer as Minister-President of Bavaria. However, even with this formidable challenge by Mr. Ude, the top brass of the CSU are confident of their chances in the fall. Mr. Seehofer confidently declared, "The CSU is strong as a bear; it is back."
A sign of this confidence can be seen in the fact that the CSU is openly discussing the successor to Mr. Seehofer in the election year of 2018. They have already indicated a few potential candidates, among them Ilse Aigner, the current Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, and Markus Söder, the Bavarian Minister of Finance.
Amid the upbeat rhetoric at the conference however, the president warned his party members against any overconfidence, "We have achieved a good position...but I ask you to stay grounded."
Another focus of the CSU will be the mayoral election to be held in the southern town of Schongau. The current mayor, Karl-Heinz Gerbl of the SPD, announced in December of 2012 his decision to not run in the election of 2014, because of health issues. The CSU hopes to win this election with a candidate that it will name in June.