"Bavaria’s powerbrokers are out on the stump ahead of an October 14 election that promises to shake up the state’s political landscape. The ruling Christian Social Union, which has dominated the state’s politics for decades, is in full crisis mode as voters flee the center right for the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD)."
"With less than a month until election day, the CSU, which won an absolute majority in 2013, received just 35 percent in the most recent benchmark Bayerntrend poll, a record low. While such a result would still make the CSU by far the biggest party in the state, by party standards it would be a catastrophe."
"The election will resonate far beyond tradition-bound Bavaria, one of Germany’s wealthiest regions and home to corporate titans including BMW and Siemens. The CSU is the smallest of the three parties that form Germany’s grand coalition, alongside Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, the CSU’s sister organization, and the Social Democrats. A collapse in support for the CSU could trigger a reshuffling of the party’s leadership and its Cabinet team in Berlin, which includes CSU leader Horst Seehofer, who holds the powerful post of interior minister."The frustration can be summed up in a single word: migration.
"Nearly half of Bavarians (44 percent) cited refugees as the main challenge facing their state in last week’s Bayerntrend poll. https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/bayerntrend-109~magnifier_pos-1.html
Though that number has declined since July, it’s still by far voters’ main concern. While the roughly 1.4 million migrants who arrived in Germany since the beginning of 2015 have been resettled across the country, most of them crossed Bavaria’s southern border with Austria. A widely-held perception that Bavaria is on the front lines of what many locals still consider a crisis has fueled the public’s insecurity, even as the number of new arrivals has fallen dramatically."
"Seehofer, who stepped down as Bavarian premier earlier this year but retained his position as CSU leader, has tried to address voter concerns by taking a hard line on migration in Berlin in his role as interior minister. Specifically, he has advocated turning back most migrants who arrived at the Bavarian border. The strategy led to a nasty dispute with Merkel in June that nearly brought down the governing coalition. After a long standoff, Seehofer backed away from his demands and accepted a symbolic compromise. Far from restoring Bavarians’ trust in the CSU, Seehofer further undermined it by appearing to buckle under pressure from Merkel."
"The episode proved to be a gift to the AfD, which has tried to associate the CSU with what it considers Merkel’s failed refugee policies. The far-right party, which didn’t even run in the last Bavarian election in 2013, has polled between 11 percent and 15 percent in recent weeks. The AfD isn’t the CSU’s only problem. Polls suggest that a small party called the Free Voters (Freie Wähler) is also attracting former CSU supporters with a conservative message. Another worry is the Green party. By adopting harsher rhetoric on migration, the CSU appears be losing centrist voters to the Greens, which recent polls suggest will finish second in next month’s election, well ahead of the Social Democrats, the traditional runner-up in the state. According to Bayerntrend, the Greens are poised to take 17 percent of the vote, compared to the SPD’s 11 percent."
"The biggest obstacle the CSU faces in the weeks ahead isn’t the tight calendar, but continued turmoil in Berlin. In recent days Seehofer has once again found himself at odds with Merkel, this time over whether the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence service should be fired. The intelligence chief, Hans-Georg Maaßen, has come under attack for questioning the authenticity
of a video showing a foreigner being chased by neo-Nazis (That means it's a hoax
) in Chemnitz last month."https://www.politico.eu/article/bavaria-election-horst-seehofer-angela-merkel-markus-soder-christian-social-union-csu/