After its historic failure in the bundestag elections, the CSU has announced that it will take a hard line in the upcoming coalition negotiations.
At a meeting of the CSU executive committee in munich, party leader horst seehofer took responsibility for the worst results since 1949 – but he is not considering resignation at this time. Instead, he called on the union and all democratic parties to fight right-wing extremism.
Seehofer says he has the backing of his party despite the election debacle. "There was not a hint of a personnel debate," seehofer said after the CSU executive board meeting. But he conceded on BR television: "that can change every day."
"We don’t want to just move on to the agenda now," seehofer said after the more than five-hour meeting. Even before the first exploratory talks in berlin, the CDU and CSU had to have a discussion about their general position, "namely, center-right. In view of the weak performance of the union and the high afd results, "business as usual" was no longer possible.
The CSU had plunged to just 38.8 percent in bavaria on sunday – a drop of more than ten percentage points (2013: 49.3 percent). However, the CSU won all 46 direct mandates in the free state of bavaria.
Seehofer expressed confidence that CDU chairwoman angela merkel would also be interested in clarifying the course, even if she was more satisfied with the results of the federal election. The afd is a general topic for germany.
Seehofer says he is not thinking of resigning: "if someone wants to do things differently, then let them say so," he said before the meeting began. Seehofer refrained from blaming the union for the election debacle; top candidate joachim herrmann, however, stressed that some of merkel’s rhetoric on asylum policy in the final phase of the election campaign had not been helpful.
In about a year, a new state parliament will be elected in bavaria; the CSU wants to defend its absolute majority then. Therefore, the coming weeks are of particular importance for the party. An electoral success for the CSU without an upper limit for refugees enforced in berlin is hardly conceivable, seehofer said.
Despite the union’s unclear course, the CSU wants to stick to its coalition with the CDU in the bundestag. Seehofer said he did not think it was the right way to go about it. The executive board had supported him unanimously. In addition, seehofer announced that he would propose the incumbent federal minister of transportation, alexander dobrindt, as gerda hasselfeldt’s successor as head of the 46-member CSU parliamentary group in the bundestag.
Political scientist werner weidenfeld also expects the CSU to take a more uncompromising stance in berlin in the future. "The CSU will be a very difficult partner in the federal government, more difficult than before," he told the german press agency.
Even before the meeting, seehofer received backing for a tough course from numerous members of the executive board. Without an upper limit for refugees, the CSU must go into opposition – even if no more coalitions are possible as a result, demanded JU state leader hans reichhart. "Then there will have to be new elections." CSU vice president manfred weber said: "we must now put on our battle dress."
To approve a possible coalition agreement, seehofer wants to hold "at least" one more party conference, possibly even a CSU member poll.
Chancellor merkel’s positioning of the union toward the political center has failed, says CSU vice chairwoman barbara stamm. However, top candidate herrmann also said: "we must remain on the right flank, but that does not mean that we will move to the right."The CSU must remain a party of the middle. It has not only lost voters to the afd, "but just as many to the FDP". Bavaria’s finance minister markus soder called for a ruthless analysis of the causes of the election debacle, but spoke out against "hau-ruck and quick analyses".
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