Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Merkel's Allies Get Key Victory in Bavaria ; Exit Polling Indicates Christian Social Union Secured a Majority

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Merkel's Allies Get Key Victory in Bavaria ; Exit Polling Indicates Christian Social Union Secured a Majority

Article excerpt

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative allies won a majority in Germany's economically powerful state of Bavaria on Sunday, exit polls indicate.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative allies won an absolute majority in Germany's economically powerful state of Bavaria on Sunday, according to exit polls conducted by the country's two main public television networks, in a race that was being scrutinized as an indicator of the country's mood a week before the national election.

The Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Ms. Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, secured around 49 percent of the vote in the 180-seat state legislature, according the exit polls conducted by the networks ARD and ZDF. The result would translate to 102 seats for the conservatives, well above the 91 needed to form a majority government.

Under Germany's election system, voters are able to cast two votes, one for a party and the other for a candidate. This can lead to results where the percentage of voters does not always track directly with the number of seats a party wins.

The conservative parties' main rivals, the Social Democrats, were projected to win about 20 percent of the vote on Sunday.

"The year 2008 is history. We are back," a beaming Horst Seehofer, Bavaria's state premier, said minutes after the first exit polls were announced. The party's lead was clear enough to be proclaimed a victory, although initial official results were not expected until much later Sunday.

Five years ago, the Bavarian conservatives lost the absolute majority they had enjoyed for 56 years, turning to the pro-business Free Democrats to form a government that mirrored Ms. Merkel's coalition in Berlin.

The Free Democrats won only 3 percent support in Bavaria on Sunday, the exit polls showed, a bitter loss that will see them ejected from the state legislature. The outcome raised alarm bells in Berlin, where the continuation of Ms. Merkel's current coalition government is dependent on a strong showing by the smaller party when the country elects a new Parliament on Sept. 22.

The Free Democratic Party has also been struggling at the national level. Despite Ms. Merkel's comfortable lead ahead of her main rival, Peer Steinbruck, concerns are growing that she may have no choice but to try to form a government with his center-left Social Democratic Party if the Free Democrats fail to make the crucial 5 percent threshold for the national Parliament, the Bundestag.

The Free Democratic Party's leader, Philipp Rosler, sought to rally supporters across the country by singling out Bavaria as unique. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.