German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Social Union (CSU) party were blown out in last Sunday’s elections in Bavaria. Merkel lamented the loss saying that voters were not swayed by Germany’s thriving economy and high employment rate. The long- time Chancellor blamed the loss on eroding trust levels with the voting population:
“A lot of trust has been lost. We must better ensure that this trust is there and also make the results of our work visible.”
Sunday’s massacre at the polls where the CSU suffered a 10.5% swing against them and only obtained 37.2% of the vote was their worst loss in the prosperous state of Bavaria since 1954.
Likewise, the national coalition’s junior party, the Social Democrats (SPD) were also throttled by voters during the elections. For the first time, the SPD saw their percentage of votes slashed to single digits at 9.5%. SPD fell behind the Greens on 17.5% and the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) gained 10.2% in their first Bavarian election.
Despite the blowout, heads were not found to be rolling although there were calls from within the CSU for its party leader, Horst Seehofer, to resign. Members of the CSU placed the blame squarely on Seehofer for creating dissension among the ranks.
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) premier, Daniel Günther, reported that there have been calls for resignations within the CDU which is Merkel’s party:
“It probably can’t work without personnel consequences. However, I don’t think much of making individuals responsible. The entire CSU leadership has made mistakes in the past years. No one can be excluded.”
CSU Bavarian premiere Markus Söder said that election day was a “difficult day” for the party. However, he reiterated that the CSU still had the mandate to form the government.
The Bavarian premier is poised to form a coalition that will govern the state with the centre- right group, the Free Voters, and exclude the Greens.
The attention will now shift to the next battleground state, Hesse, which will take place at the end of the month. Prospects do not look good for Merkel in Hesse where both the CDU and the SPD are sputtering in the polls.