Angela Merkel's Bavarian allies lose majority

CNN's Atika Shubert looks at the southern German state Bavaria, whose vote that cost the ruling Christian Social Union its majority and is likely to rattle German Chancellor Angela Merkel's fragile "grand coalition" government.

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 5:47 AM
Updated: Oct 16, 2018 6:05 AM

The ruling Christian Social Union lost its majority in the Bavarian state parliament on Sunday in an election that is likely to rattle German Chancellor Angela Merkel's fragile "grand coalition" government.

The Christian Social Union, or CSU -- the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's conservative Christian Democrat Union, or CDU -- has dominated politics in the state since the end of World War II, ruling for all but three years over the course of nearly seven decades.

But that changed Sunday. The CSU got only 37.2% of the vote and fringe parties won a huge boost, according to preliminary official results released by the Bavarian State Office of Statistics.

The pro-immigration, environmentalist Greens ran in second place with 17.5%, increasing their support, while the far-right, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, took 10.2% of the vote, giving it seats in parliament for the first time.

Speaking Monday, Merkel admitted that voters had lost trust in the government and said that her job was to "make sure that trust is won back."

"I will work on that with as much vigor as I can," she said.

Bavaria bore the brunt of the 2015 refugee crisis; at its peak, thousands of asylum seekers were crossing into the state every day. Since then, both Merkel and her CSU allies have been criticized for their management of the influx.

The turnout was significantly higher than in the last Bavarian election in 2013. Of the approximately 9.5 million eligible voters, 72.4% cast their votes, compared to 63.6% in 2013.

"This is a difficult situation for the CSU," Interior Minister and CSU party head Horst Seehofer said Monday, acknowledging that his party would need to find a coalition partner in Bavaria.

There had been speculation that a bad result for his party could force Seehofer to resign but he refused to address that issue Monday.

"I will not conduct any personal discussions about me today," he said.

CSU State Premier Markus Soeder had ruled out a coalition with the AfD in the run-up to the election and Seehofer made the same pledge Monday.

AfD: 'Merkel must go'

The outcome is likely to have an impact on Merkel's coalition government, which took four months to form through difficult negotiations and has come close to imploding over migration issues and a scandal involving the country's spy chief.

The CDU has accused CSU members of pandering to far-right sentiments to prevent losing supporters to the anti-migrant AfD, in publicized infighting that has tarnished the image of the two parties.

The Social Democrats, known as SPD, also in Merkel's grand coalition, lost their second-place spot in Sunday's vote, winning 9.7% of the votes, around half what they had in the 2013 election. The CSU ran strong in 2013, winning 47.7% of the vote and taking 101 of 180 seats.

The election will shake up the 18th Bavarian state parliament, which will now have a total of 205 seats.

The CSU will hold 85 seats (compared to 101 seats won in the 2013 vote), the Greens 38 seats (compared to 18), Free Voters 27 (compared to 19), the SPD 22 (compared to 42), the AfD 22 and the FDP 11.

Speaking after exit polls had been released, SPD leader Andrea Nahles did not explicitly name Merkel but pointed to the Chancellor's coalition as a reason for her party's major setback on Sunday.

"It would seem we were unable to convince the electorate, and that is bitter. Certainly, one of the reasons why we did not do well in the elections is the poor performance of the grand coalition here in Berlin," she said, adding that infighting had hurt all parties in government.

"One thing is sure: This needs to change."

Alice Weidel, the far-right AfD's parliamentary group co-leader, said the exit poll showed there was "no longer a grand coalition in Berlin."

"Those who have voted for AfD in Bavaria today also say Merkel must go, dear ladies and gentlemen," she said.

"Clear the path for new elections, clear the path for policy in our country."

Policy analyst Leopold Traugott from Open Europe told CNN that calls for a leadership change will grow louder from all three coalition parties: the CDU, CSU and SPD.

"The mood within Merkel's 'Grand Coalition' has been terrible for months now, and will be even worse following this election," he said.

"It is becoming increasingly clear to all parties involved that the current setup is not working in their favor."

Merkel, now serving her fourth term, could find herself fighting to keep her job as party chair when the CDU holds its annual congress in December. To ward off a mutiny in her coalition, she may be pressured to shake up her cabinet before the congress.

'Lessons to be learned'

Soeder, the state premier from the CSU, said there were "lessons to be learned from Sunday's painful results," but as the frontrunner, the party still had the right to form government.

"Today is not an easy day for the CSU. We have not achieved a good result. We have achieved a painful result," he said.

"We accept this result with due humility and we will have to learn our lessons from it. We have to analyze it. One thing is for sure: Despite certain debates and comments and forecasts, the CSU is not only the strongest party, it has remit to form government, and that has to be said as well in this context."

The center-right CSU could be left in the awkward position of trying to form a coalition with the left-wing Greens, having ruled out any kind of alliance with the AfD. A preferable option for the CSU would be a coalition with regional protest party the Free Voters, who won 11.6% of the vote.

Bavaria appears to have followed electoral trends in other parts of Europe. Populist anti-migrant parties across the region have splintered traditional support bases on the left and right, leading to fractured election outcomes and more coalition governments.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 92100

Reported Deaths: 2037
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin26264926
Ramsey10635318
Dakota7280125
Anoka5870132
Stearns386524
Washington365255
Scott248733
Olmsted234627
Nobles194316
Blue Earth16326
Wright15537
St. Louis145138
Carver13757
Clay131640
Rice13118
Mower13085
Sherburne111414
Kandiyohi9552
Winona85518
Lyon6614
Waseca5668
Steele5302
Freeborn5293
Benton5223
Nicollet51516
Watonwan5144
Todd4832
McLeod4702
Chisago4661
Crow Wing46418
Le Sueur4464
Otter Tail4074
Beltrami3885
Martin35710
Goodhue3449
Pine3070
Itasca29914
Polk2944
Douglas2782
Isanti2710
Becker2572
Carlton2461
Cottonwood2190
Unassigned21852
Morrison2161
Pipestone21610
Dodge2140
Chippewa2031
Meeker1892
Sibley1893
Brown1822
Wabasha1800
Yellow Medicine1692
Rock1620
Murray1562
Mille Lacs1533
Redwood1511
Cass1423
Jackson1371
Renville1367
Faribault1320
Swift1231
Houston1170
Koochiching1173
Roseau1170
Kanabec1168
Pennington1151
Fillmore1110
Lincoln1050
Stevens941
Pope900
Hubbard881
Aitkin741
Big Stone730
Wadena670
Grant594
Wilkin583
Lake570
Norman520
Marshall501
Lac qui Parle471
Mahnomen461
Red Lake401
Traverse290
Clearwater260
Lake of the Woods211
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 82537

Reported Deaths: 1289
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15571261
Woodbury517363
Johnson507327
Black Hawk442188
Linn3878109
Story336917
Dubuque298541
Scott287528
Dallas274138
Pottawattamie203338
Buena Vista195912
Marshall176834
Sioux14693
Wapello129657
Webster121314
Clinton109220
Plymouth109120
Muscatine109054
Crawford10425
Cerro Gordo101721
Warren9456
Jasper80232
Des Moines7517
Marion7465
Tama69931
Henry6554
Carroll6505
Lee6137
Wright5701
Dickinson5036
Boone4938
Bremer4757
Washington44911
Louisa42615
Mahaska36819
Delaware3653
Franklin34618
Hamilton3233
Jackson3173
Winneshiek3156
Floyd3103
Clay3094
Benton3021
Hardin2931
Winnebago28413
Lyon2804
Poweshiek2708
Butler2652
Buchanan2621
Clarke2623
Jones2583
Emmet25410
Allamakee2526
Shelby2501
Kossuth2490
Chickasaw2400
Guthrie2406
Clayton2373
Cedar2331
Sac2320
Cherokee2222
Grundy2183
Madison2092
Fayette2052
Iowa1971
Harrison1962
Mitchell1860
Howard1856
Humboldt1833
Calhoun1792
Hancock1772
Mills1731
Palo Alto1720
Pocahontas1562
Lucas1536
Monroe15310
Page1500
Cass1482
Osceola1460
Monona1441
Jefferson1351
Appanoose1293
Taylor1271
Union1263
Davis1224
Van Buren1121
Ida1100
Fremont1040
Worth1040
Keokuk1011
Greene990
Montgomery905
Wayne842
Audubon741
Adair681
Decatur660
Ringgold482
Adams330
Unassigned40
Rochester
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 67°
Mason City
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 64°
Albert Lea
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 64°
Austin
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 64°
Charles City
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Tracking more warmth before cooler weather arrives for the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

RPL announces new curbside pickup services

Image

How does a victim get justice when the defendant dies?

Image

Sara's Evening Forecast - Thursday

Image

Ramp project for Vietnam Vet

Image

Farmer Safety Week

Image

Mayowood Fall Follies Celebration

Image

Mercy Day 5k being held virtually

Image

Crashes involving deer

Image

Election Cybersecurity Concerns

Image

Rochester Mayor reflects on Breonna Taylor case

Community Events