Bavarian Elections May Bring Political Upheaval | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 24.09.2008
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Bavarian Elections May Bring Political Upheaval

Bavaria's state elections are coming up fast, and for the first time in 46 years, their outcome is uncertain. DW takes a closer look at some of the issues surrounding the election.

Bavarian colors with election ballot

Bavaria goes to the polls on Sunday

Bavaria's state parliamentary elections haven't been this exciting for nearly half a century and may have ramifications that go well beyond the Alpine state's borders.

The Christian Social Union, the sister party to the country's ruling Christian Democratic Union, has held the state's solo leadership since 1962. That's time immemorial in the world of coalition politics.

Now, polls show the CSU could lose its absolute majority in the vote set for Sunday, Sept. 28 -- meaning it would need to find a coalition partner in order to rule. This could also signal a dwindling of support for the conservative camp in general and weaken Chancellor Angela Merkel's chances of retaining power in next year's federal elections.

During the election campaign Bavarian Premier Guenther Beckstein and party chief Erwin Huber emphasized the party's past successes and took an egalitarian approach to criticizing their opponents. Even the libertarian Free Democratic Party, the party most likely to agree with the CSU's tax-cut program, was under attack.

According to several opinion polls, the CSU's support was hovering just below the 50-percent mark.

DW reporter Michael Lawton took an up-close-and-personal look at three of the issues that will help decide the fate of Bavaria's power party. Along the way, he asked a few key questions like: Will dairy farmers stand by their politicians? Why does a tiny town love its new mayor -- a 23-year-old, openly gay member of the opposition? And what chance does anyone stand against the CSU machine?

To hear the answers, click on the links below.

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