Leader of Bavarian party resigns after poll loss

1st October 2008, Comments 0 comments

Huber, had taken over the CSU party less than a year ago.

Munich -- Erwin Huber, leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), announced his resignation Tuesday after Bavaria's ruling party suffered a dramatic loss in support in Sunday's election in the German state.

Huber, 62, had taken over the CSU, the sister party of the CDU, less than a year ago, at the same time as Guenther Beckstein became premier of Bavaria state. But the power-sharing Huber-Beckstein duo failed to impress center-right voters.

The CSU garnered just 43.4 percent of ballots Sunday, well down from the 60.7 percent it won at the last poll in 2003. The CSU is a kingpin in Chancellor Angela Merkel's centrist federal coalition.

In a brief announcement, Huber said he would remain as caretaker till the party elected a new leader at a conference on Oct. 25.

In Berlin, CSU legislators, who are allied with Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) at federal level, nominated Horst Seehofer, who is CSU deputy leader and German agriculture minister, as Huber's successor.

Beckstein's office rejected speculation that the premier would also resign. Meeting the media, Beckstein acknowledged Huber's retirement but refused to answer questions.

The election setback has triggered turmoil in the once-proud party. Insiders said some CSU legislators in Berlin were pressing for a wider purge and demanding that Seehofer become Bavarian premier as well.

The mainly Catholic state's previous premier, Edmund Stoiber, who was at the same time CSU leader, was a powerful presence in German national politics.


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