CSU congress starts process for electing new Bavarian leader

28th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

28 September 2007, Munich (dpa) - Delegates of Bavaria's conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) gathered in Munich Friday at the start of a key party congress to elect a successor to outgoing party chairman Edmund Stoiber.

28 September 2007

Munich (dpa) - Delegates of Bavaria's conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) gathered in Munich Friday at the start of a key party congress to elect a successor to outgoing party chairman Edmund Stoiber.

Stoiber, who is leaving office after 14 years as Bavarian premier and eight as party chief, announced his resignation in January after opposition to his continued leadership rose.

His position became increasingly untenable after he turned down a key ministerial position in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's broad coalition government following the September, 2005 elections.

The party, which has a strong Catholic base, was deciding on a new programme for the post-Stoiber era on Friday, as well as throwing a party for their outgoing leader on the occasion of his 66th birthday.

Stoiber's successor as Bavarian premier has already been chosen. Bavarian Interior Minister Guenther Beckstein, 63, takes over formally on October 9.

There are three candidates for the election Saturday to the post of party chief. The favourite is Bavarian Economics Minister Erwin Huber, 61, followed by Federal Agriculture Minister Horst Seehofer, 58.

Seehofer has fallen from favour after acknowledging having a child with his 32-year-old secretary in Berlin.

The third candidate is Gabriele Pauli, 50, who caused bemusement last week within the party, which espouses conservative family values, by suggesting that marriages should be limited to seven years.

Observers accord the telegenic, twice-divorced Pauli little more than nuisance value in the election.

The CSU campaigns only in Bavaria and is in permanent electoral alliance federally with Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which campaigns in the other 15 states but not in Bavaria.

DPA

Subject: German news

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