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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

German Chancellor’s Bavarian Allies Negotiate Change of Leadership

BERLIN – The Christian Social Union in Bavaria, a regional branch of the German Chancellor’s Christian Democrats agreed on Monday to appoint its former finance minister to lead the party into next year’s local elections.

Markus Söder, 68, will take over from current leader Horst Seehofer, 50, and front the CSU heading into the 2018 Lander elections, according to an announcement from the regional parliamentary group.

Söder belongs to the CSU’s conservative wing and has been particularly critical of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s migrant policies after the southern region of Bavaria became the entry point for hundreds of thousands of refugees coming into Germany.

The debate concerning who should succeed Bavarian Prime Minister Seehofer intensified following the German federal elections in September, when CSU obtained 38.8 percent of votes, a lackluster result for a party accustomed to winning by absolute majority.

The far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) became the third most voted political formation in the Bavarian federal state with 12.4 percent of the votes.

Söder must now wait to be elected by the Bavarian regional parliament, where CSU currently enjoys an absolute majority.

In the meantime, Seehofer will remain as CSU president and will present his candidacy to renew said post at the CSU’s coming party congress.

Seehofer is expected to relocate to Berlin to join Markel’s future cabinet, which remains in the air as German conservatives and social democrats await a new round of government coalition talks.

Seehofer is expected to address the press at around 13:00 hours local time on Monday.

The current political model of separating the post of party president from the Bavarian prime minister post was already resorted to by the CSU during the era of German chancellor Helmut Kohl, after the death of legendary CSU leader, Franz Josef Strauss.

After Strauss’ death, Theo Waigel became party leader and Max Streibl assumed the Bavarian prime minister’s post and was later succeeded by Dr. Edmund Stoiber.

 

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