Angela Merkel's conservative sister party in Bavaria has found a governing partner after punishing elections results cost the party its parliamentary majority. An official agreement has yet to be signed.
Three weeks after suffering historic losses in Bavaria's regional election, the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) announced Friday it had agreed to a coalition government with the right-leaning Free Voters.
A partnership between the two parties had been widely expected and means that despite massive voter dissatisfaction with the CSU, it will continue as to be the leading force in Bavarian politics.
"We have finished," CSU premier Markus Söder said on Friday from the Bavarian parliament building.
"Breakthrough achieved," added Hubert Aiwagner, the head of the Free Voters, a right-wing umbrella party with a strong focus on preserving local traditions and decentralized government. He also shared the message on Twitter:
Details of the coalition agreement, such as regional ministerial posts, were not available. The coalition arrangement still needs to be approved by a panel from each party on Sunday, with the final agreement to be signed on Monday.
Söder is expected to be re-elected as Bavarian premier. There have been tensions between him and CSU party leader Horst Seehofer, who is also Germany's interior minister in Berlin and whom Söder succeeded as the top politician in the state.
Aiwanger, the leader of the Free Voters, can be happy that his party will be part of Bavaria's government for the first time
CSU forced to find a partner
After losing its outright parliamentary majority in regional elections on October, the CSU, the conservative sister party of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), had been forced to seek out support from other parties.
The Green party, which emerged from the vote as the second-strongest party, also could have been a potential coalition partner for the CSU, but their political positions contrast more than those of the CSU and Free Voters.
cmb/msh (dpa, Reuters)