155 days before the state elections in Bavaria, the CSU gathered behind its party leader Markus Söder. At the party conference in Nuremberg on Saturday afternoon, the delegates unanimously chose the Bavarian Prime Minister, who has been in office since 2018, as their top candidate for the Bavarian elections on October 8th. The voting was by show of hands and without a formal count, there were no abstentions or dissenting votes, nor an opposing candidate.
"Uh, yes, I really thank you very much," said Söder after the election. The election result is a great signal to the outside world. Now it is important to get a good result for the CSU. "From today we start the primary campaign." The starting position is better than in 2018. At that time, just four weeks before the election, the CSU was only 35 percent in polls. Söder had already taken over the office of prime minister from Horst Seehofer in March, but he had only resigned his position as party leader to Söder in September.
Free to choose
Compared to 2018, according to all current surveys, the CSU can look calmly to the election on October 8th: it last ranked between 40 and 42 percent. That would be a clear improvement on the result of 2018, when the party only achieved 37.2 percent and lost its absolute majority in the state parliament. Since then, the Christian Social Party has governed in a coalition with the Free Voters. Söder has repeatedly emphasized that he wants to continue the alliance. On the other hand, he had repeatedly ruled out a coalition with the Greens.
In his 99-minute keynote speech before the nomination, Söder tried to focus on his own reign in Bavaria in addition to a lot of criticism of the federal government. Among other things, he announced the founding of a state-owned construction company called "Bayernwind" to accelerate the still sluggish expansion of wind power. He wanted his own company "so that not just any investors could make money from it," said Söder. Until sufficient renewable energies are available to cover the growing demand in Germany, however, it is wrong to do without nuclear energy.
In whole or in part
Söder was also open to a takeover of the Uniper hydroelectric power plants by the Free State. He left it open whether he meant a complete takeover or just a partial participation. After Uniper got into financial difficulties as a result of the energy crisis, the federal government took over the hydroelectric power plants. As a result, the Bavarian Greens had repeatedly called for the power plants on the Isar, Lech, Danube and Main to be taken over by the Free State.
The traffic light government in the federal government is "unfortunately the main cause" for many concerns in Bavaria, according to Söder. "The traffic light, with what it does and decides, becomes the greatest risk of poverty in recent German history," warned Söder. In particular, the Greens and in parts also the FDP overwhelmed Söder with criticism.
On the other hand, the continuation of the coalition with the Free Voters in Bavaria is a clear counter-proposal to the alliance of SPD, Greens and FDP. "It is our clear goal for October 8th, we want to win this state election, that is our aim."
In addition, at the one-day party conference, the CSU decided on its new basic program, with which it wants to prepare itself for current and future challenges in times of the Ukraine war and after Corona. The roughly 90-page work, which took around a year to complete, is a classic assessment of the position of the CSU as a conservative people's party - but also with some new facets and emphasis. The importance of renewable energies, a functioning health and pharmaceutical supply system and domestic food production are worked out.
The CSU is planning another major party conference for September, shortly before the state elections. The entire party executive, including Söder, will then be re-elected there as scheduled. This party conference should also last one day. In recent years, only one large party congress per year was usual, but then always over two days.