1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Germany: Scholz coalition battered in Bavaria, Hesse polls

October 9, 2023

State election vote projections in Germany show the conservative CDU and CSU parties were the day's winners, with losses for Chancellor Scholz's governing coalition. The far-right AfD, meanwhile, has gained ground.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
Scholz's Social Democrats (SPD) saw their worst result yet in HesseImage: Dwi Anoraganingrum/Panama Pictures/picture alliance

With the dust beginning to settle following Sunday's key state elections in Bavaria and Hesse, it's Germany's center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), who have emerged as the top performers.

However, while the CSU may have won by a clear margin, according to projections, it has also recorded historically its worst performance in a post-war election in Bavaria.

The parties of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's so-called traffic light coalition — the center-left Social Democrat Party (SPD), environmentalist Green Party and the neoliberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) — have all seen falling support.

At the same time, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party made significant gains, surging to second place in both Hesse and Bavaria.

The votes in the two states — which are home to nearly a quarter of Germany's population — are considered an important barometer of general political sentiment.

German conservatives win in two state elections

Results at a glance

In Bavaria, the CSU, led by state premier Markus Söder, came in with 37%, recording a one percentage point drop.

The Free Voters, the CSU's coalition partner, garnered 15.8% of the vote. The Greens, with 14.4%, were nearly neck-and-neck with the AfD, who were just ahead on 14.6%.

The FDP failed to clear the 5% hurdle to re-enter the state parliament with 3%, a 2.1 percentage point drop.

The CDU maintained its first place in Hesse and extended its lead by over seven points to 34.6%, the projection showed, followed by the AfD with 18.4%.

The SPD, which had federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser as its top candidate, dropped to 15.1%. The Greens were on 14.8%, while the FDP got just got enough votes to re-enter parliament with 5%.

Party reactions

Bavarian Premier Söder said his party "has been given a clear mandate to govern" and that following a "grueling election campaign, Bavaria has chosen stability."

Söder told public broadcaster ARD he would hold talks with the conservative Free Voters party this week to continue the existing governing coalition. 

"We will ensure that a democratic and good Bavaria is preserved even in these times," Söder told the broadcaster.

CDU state premier of Hesse Boris Rhein, who retains his post, said on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, "Hesse has voted. Thank you for the overwhelming vote of confidence in all voters!" 

The Greens appeared undeterred and posted a message of thanks on social media, saying that voters had "expressed their trust in us in Bavaria and Hesse. We achieved our second-best result in history in both federal states. This is a stable basis for further expansion — nationwide." 

"We have been able to convince more and more people of our liberal policies over the years," the AfD posted on X, citing its federal spokeswoman Alice Weidel in an interview with ZDF.

More Germans willing to vote for far-right parties

kb/nm (AFP, dpa)

While you're here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what is happening in German politics and society. You can sign up here for the weekly email newsletter Berlin Briefing.