Sunday, June 7, 2020

Local elections in Bavaria: less Söder effect, more color – Bavaria

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Despite some successes, the cohesion of the CSU is waning in the Free State, just like that of the SPD. The Greens can only benefit from it to a limited extent. This is due to a well-known shortcoming.

After the election campaign, the struggle for sovereignty begins. This is also the case for local elections, especially in Bavaria, where the political compass is still based on the CSU. So it came as no surprise that Markus Blume, the party’s general secretary, promptly attributed the run-off results, which pleased him, to his boss on Sunday evening: The “great encouragement” for Prime Minister Markus Söder had “provided a good tailwind”, Blume said briskly.

Nuremberg, Bavaria’s second largest city, has been ruled by an SPD mayor for the past 18 years. In future CSU man Marcus König, 39, will be in charge. There will be a mayor for the first time in Augsburg: Eva Weber, 42, will inherit her CSU party friend Kurt Gribl, 55. In these two cities, the party has succeeded in showing signs of renewal. This did not work in Munich. There, Kristina Frank, 38, the SPD incumbent Dieter Reiter, 61, could not be dangerous. In the runoff election, she did not even get 30 percent of the vote.

The examples illustrate how colorful these elections have colored Bavaria’s political landscape. A nationwide Söder effect? Can not really be stated. The SPD plunges completely? Not at all, in Ingolstadt, for example, her candidate surprisingly won the office of mayor. The rough grids fall short. These elections have not brought about a fundamental change in the power structure. However, a lot has changed in detail. A second look at the results reveals trends that persist beyond the day and that should create new conditions overall.

On the one hand there is the cutting off of the greens. The boom in federal politics and the social climate made them start the local election campaign with optimism. And in the round, when it came to the appointment of the committees, i.e. the municipal councils, district councils and city councils, the Greens were able to record remarkable growth. However, the party failed to meet the demand for more local political leadership roles.

The reason for this was not necessarily the corona crisis, which overlaid all topics before the runoff. Rather, it was the lack of charismatic leaders who have matured over the years that the party has always struggled with, but which are still crucial in local politics. Person beats party book: This rule applies at the base.

What has changed, however, is that the official bonus is dwindling. The Mayor of Bayreuth from the Bayreuth community was voted out, as was the CSU-OB in Hof or the SPD Mayor of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The phenomenon is not entirely new, but it is now becoming more acute across all party boundaries and levels. What all local political actors also have to adjust to: The fraying of the committees continues to increase.

In Lindau on Lake Constance, where a 30-member city council decides on the interests of 25,000 inhabitants, eleven parties and groups of voters will be represented in the future. For comparison: after the 2008 election, there were only six. Even if they continue to have many outstanding minds: the once strong ties between the two milieu parties CSU and SPD – they are disappearing.

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