Mixed results in Bavaria's election indicate typical German caution

Published by carolyn on Sun, 2018-10-14 14:27

33-year-old Bavarian Green party leader Katharina Schulze is young and vivacious.  Neither the AfD nor the other parties had such a charismatic leader on display.


By Carolyn Yeager

The biggest gainer in today's Baravian state election is the left-wing Green Party with a current gain of around 9 points over its 2013 result. That is, if you don't include the gain of over 10 points by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which rose from zero in 2013 since they were not on the ballot then.

The AfD was only formed in 2013 and in those five years has risen to a position hovering between 2nd and 3rd most popular in Germany as a whole. In conservative Bavaria today, though, they came in fourth, following closely behind a right-leaning Southern Germany party called "Free Voters."

The result for the Christian Social Union is considered a defeat of serious proportions, as it has been the ruling party in Bavaria since 1945 or so. Merkel's Christian Democratic Union is never on the ballot in Bavaria as per their agreement as "sister parties". The loss of a whopping 10.4 points since 2013 for the CSU is also a poor reflection on the CDU.

Why the Greens?

The Green Party was formed in 1980  in neighboring Baden-Württenberg on an environmental platform. It tended more and more left as the environment craze from that time waned. I consider it a far-left party now that is particularly popular with the LGBTQ+ crowd. As the popularity of the mainstream so-called peoples' parties (CDU/CSU, SPD) has weakened in the face of the populist movement, the Green party has once again begun to be an alternative 'progressive' choice.  

In Bavaria, it seems, the part of the electorate that wanted to punish the CSU, but wasn't ready to go the full populist route, decided to settle on the Greens as a counter to a rightward movement. It tells us the Left is still very much alive in Germany, as well as in the USA.

The AfD is not unhappy with its result

According to first projections, the AfD reached 10.9 percent in Bavaria. AfD boss Jörg Meuthen described this as a "terrific success". "I think that with this result, we have the strongest growth of all parties," he said.

AfD chief Alexander Gauland is also satisfied with the election results. With the free voters, there is a strong conservative competition in Bavaria, Gauland made clear with regard to the ARD forecast. He also emphasized the claim of his party to govern in the medium to long term. But you still have to grow.

The Bavarian AfD chairman Martin Sichert was satisfied. "The forecast is a good basis, let's see what else is coming, it is a good basis for working in parliament," said Sichert. In parliamentary elections, his party had always done slightly worse than in the federal election.

The Deputy Foreign Minister Georg Pazderski posted on the AfD website: 

"For weeks, the AfD was small-talked. Nevertheless, we were able to increase voter turnout in Bavaria, too, and immediately gained more than 10%. And that is only the beginning of our rise in Bavaria. The overall result shows that the traditional coalitions are no longer possible. There is a clear bourgeois majority. The republic is in transition, it shifts to the right, to the conservative center. People obviously have enough of the left trend, no matter how hard the media repeats the left propaganda messages. The SPD is just a meaningless marginal phenomenon. Merkel crumbles away the power base. She is only chancellor on call. We own the future! The AfD becomes a People's Party.

It's apparent the AfD is emphasizing tradition and placing itself in the center and with the majority of Germans.

Not a lot to draw from this

I note that the three 'conservative' parties together garnered 59% of the vote: CSU 37.2; Free Voters 11.6; AfD 10.2. Adding CSU and FV together comes only to 48.8% - not a majority. But the Unionists say they won't allow the AfD in the government, and they don't want the Greens either. So maybe the Free Democrats with their 5% will join the coalition? Or maybe they're not needed and 48.9% is close enough.

Adding the left 'progressive' parties together gives us: Greens 17.5 plus SPD 9.7 (down 11!) equals only 27.2. The Left Party at 3.2% gets no seats at all in the state Parliament. Not impressive, but then Bavaria is known as Germany's most conservative state so it is not a change. The change is that the smaller, newer parties are doing better as the old mainstream parties decline. That's the message.

All eyes are now on the Hesse state election two weeks from today, on Oct. 28.

Comments

It seems as though yours is the only blog of our political persuasion which covers contemporary German politics. 
 
Found this article a couple of days ago on the current German nationalist scene. It features Tommy Frenck, the rather plain (and plain-speaking) German nationalist who reminds you of Martin Bormann:
 Echo of the past: Populist politics and the far right in Germany
 
I love the clarity and rigour of thought of these German nationalists which manifests itself in these interviews - it's something that's difficult to describe, something which one doesn't find in nationalists of other countries. Also, they are forthright to the point of naivety: they don't deceive, they don't hide. All typical German characteristics, one could say.

Gosh, I hate those tattoos! But yes, when they speak, they sound great! So sensible. Thanks for linking to Tommy Frenck. I still like him. And the other guy too.

No National Socialist in Hitler's time had visible tattoos. Maybe they should be reminded of that. But I think it's just a contemporary thing--like a fashion that everyone begins to follow. Dumb though it is.

From Deutsche Welle:

Who are the Free Voters?

Being part of the governing coalition of Germany's biggest territorial state would be no small feat for the Free Voters. The party has around 4,500 members. It exists in Bavaria and neighboring Baden-Wurttemberg, but is represented in Bavaria's state parliament only.

The Free Voters are considered conservative, as is the CSU. But they are not as radical as the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) that campaigned with provocative anti-Islamic statements. Analysts believe that the Free Voters are one of the reasons why the AfD has made it into Bavaria's state parliament with around 10 percent of the votes, but hasn't done as well as in other German states.

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