Election in Bavaria

Election in Bavaria

The year 2013 will be "super-election" year in Bavaria. In autumn the 'Bundestag' and the Bavarian 'Landtag' will be elected. The two elections will take place within a few weeks, because the term for the 'Landtag' is five years and for the Bundestag is four years and both elections coincide this time. But the Bavarian government pointed out that the election will be on different dates, although the opposition are demanding to put them together. With local and European election coming up in spring 2013, Bavaria is facing one and half years of election campaigns

The election for the 'Landtag' has enormous importance for politics in all of Germany. Since 1958 the CSU has been ruling the government, with the period of 1966 to 2008 holding an absolute majority of votes in the 'Landtag'; however, since 2008 CSU has been in a coalition with FDP. The CSU is a special case in German politics. It´s an independent, liberal-conservative EPP member party, which only competes in the Free Staate of Bavaria. All other parties are organized as federal parties with associations in all 'Länder' (federal states); only CDU is not competing in Bavaria against the CSU.

But in 2013 CSU has to face a real opponent. The last decades the Social Democrats in Bavaria were very far away from having a chance to win the election, nominated the successful and popular mayor of Munich Christian Ude to run against 'Ministerpräsident' (prime minister) Horst Seehofer.

Ude is Munich´s mayor for more than sixteen years: The only "red dot" in the "Black Sea". In the last years he tried not to be recognized as part of SPD Bavaria so much. He seemed hover over all parties and he got many votes from traditional CSU-voters in Munich. So many people call him not only 'Bürgermeister' (mayor) but 'Bürgerking'. Now the law forbids him to run for mayor once more. Mayor is considered as civil servants and there´s a maximum age. So he decided to run for Ministerpresident for all Bavaria in 2013. Ude is very popular in Munich, but it´s not clear yet, if people from the countryside will accept him as 'Landesvater' 

On the other hand, the CSU is considered a "state´s party". The CSU won all elections since the 1960s with more than 50% of the popular vote. In 2003, the CSU even got a majority of two thirds in the Landtag. The CSU won almost every constituency (except on in Munich) and is very strong in rural areas. Nevertheless, the CSU has been in decline over the last several years. Although it is still the strongest party, the Christian Socialists lost their absolute majority and former MP Beckstein had to step down. At that point, former federal minister Horst Seehofer, who had never been the party's first choice, took over the leadership of the party.

The first time for years, many experts expect a closer outcome. The latest polls see the CSU roughly equal with the other parties. SPD, Green, Freie Wähler and Pirate, with Liberals not in parliament anymore (in Germany a party has to win 5% to get in to 'Bundestag' or 'Landtag'). SPD nominated Ude already in 2011 as her frontrunner. So people were surprised, when Seehofer pointed out, CSU will nominate her frontrunner (most likely himself) not before spring 2013. Nevertheless election campaign will start after the summer break. The next direct showdown will be on the first day of the 'Wiesn ' (Oktoberfest) when traditionally the mayor of Munich will offer the first 'Maß' (one litre glass of beer) to the Bavarian Ministerpräsident.

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