Bavarian premier-designate to stand up to Merkel

27th October 2008, Comments 0 comments

Horst Seehofer has promised to increase the CSU’s influence within the governing coalition.

Horst Seehofer has promised to increase the CSU’s influence within the governing coalition.

Munich -- Horst Seehofer, who is expected to be appointed premier of Bavaria on Monday, has promised his party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), he will exert heavy pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel.

That promise came during a speech Saturday to a party congress in Munich of the Bavaria-only CSU, which elected him party leader. He was the sole candidate. Of the 939 delegates, 786 voted in his favor and 84 against, with the rest abstaining or spoiling their ballots.

The CSU replaced its leadership after a state election debacle last month in which the CSU lost its absolute majority and now has to enter into a coalition government.

Delegates blamed the poll loss on Merkel, who leads the CSU's "sister party," the Christian Democratic Union.

Though both parties are broadly conservative, the CDU has rejected a CSU plan to offer a larger tax rebate to commuters, bigger exemptions for heirs from inheritance tax and other tax cuts.

"We, the CSU, are a bundle of muscle," Seehofer, 59, told delegates at the congress, which, with a huge majority, approved his agreement with the smaller Free Democrat Party (FDP) to rule Bavaria jointly. "My desk is possibly going to be Munich. But my fighting skills will also extend to Berlin."
The federal coalition partners are the CDU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Seehofer is to give up his post as federal minister of agriculture and consumer affairs.

For the first time in 46 years, the CSU is unable to govern the largely Catholic state of Bavaria without a coalition partner.

Seehofer said his objective as premier replacing Guenther Beckstein would be to restore the CSU's old strength, with 50 to 60 percent of the popular vote. Four weeks ago, the party won just 43 percent of the votes in Bavaria.

The Bavarian legislature is to meet Monday to elect a new state premier and state government.


0 Comments To This Article