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CSU supporters in Bavaria
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Gebert

CSU poll slump blamed on German migrants

October 10, 2018

Bavaria's former premier, Edmund Stoiber, has said the CSU is a victim of its own success after the party fell to a new low in the polls. Sunday's vote in Bavaria will likely see the CSU lose its parliamentary majority.


Bavaria's economic prosperity is largely to blame for the ruling Christian Social Union's (CSU) slump in popularity, according to the southern German state's former premier, Edmund Stoiber.

Specifically, migration to Bavaria from the rest of Germany was the main threat facing the conservative CSU's parliamentary majority in Sunday's regional election, Stoiber told the German media group Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.

"In recent years, our economic success has seen a one-way migratory flow coming into Bavaria," said Stoiber, the CSU's honorary chairman, on Wednesday.

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"More than 1 million people have come to us from all parts of Germany in the last 10 years," he said. "Bavaria is top of the league in Germany. However, greater economic prosperity can also spur other reactions."

The most recent polls see the CSU taking just 33 percent in Sunday's vote. Such an outcome would mark a huge disappointment for a party that has historically governed alone in its native state thanks to a typical vote share of around 50 percent. 

Since its founding in the immediate postwar period, the CSU has been the party tasked with representing Bavaria's regional — and generally more conservative — interests at the German national level. The party only runs in Bavaria but functions as part of a single parliamentary group with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats in the federal parliament in Berlin.

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Possible coalition partners

If the CSU wants to govern with just one junior coalition party, forecasts have suggested it would have to forge an agreement with either the environmentalist Greens or the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), who are slated to take 18 and 14 percent of the vote respectively, according to polls.

Party officials have ruled out going into coalition with the AfD. Several CSU lawmakers have also cast doubt over whether the party will be able to conciliate its array of differences with the Greens, particularly when it comes to security and migration policy.

Read more: Bavaria's Christian Social Union: What you need to know

"I don't see how a stable alliance could be possible with these differences [between the CSU and Greens]," Stoiber said Wednesday.

Otherwise, the CSU would need to forge a three-way coalition, most likely with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) and one of either the Social Democrats (SPD) or the centrist Free Voters of Bavaria.

dm/cmk (dpa, Reuters)

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