“If Angela Merkel wants to stand for Chancellor again, she has my full support,” Gerda Hasselfeldt, leader of the CSU in the Bundestag, told the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung.
“We are prepared to resolve the few remaining differences we have and now need to concentrate our efforts on our opponents. The CDU and CSU are only successful together in Germany.”
For historical reasons, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) do not have a presence in Bavaria, Germany’s largest state by area, and the powerhouse of its economy.
The CSU have been the ruling party in Bavaria ever since the 1950s and traditionally form a political union with the CDU at the federal level.
Merkel is yet to announce whether she will stand for a fourth term as Chancellor next year, leading to speculation that she has been unable to rally enough support from the CSU, who have been critical of her liberal refugee stance.
A further statement of support came from former CSU leader Erwin Huber on Sunday.
“Frau Merkel should be our candidate,” he told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.
“She is world-renowned, as well as being the best leader for the middle classes, meaning she is the only person who can guarantee success in the general election. In our own interest, the CSU needs to stand behind her.”
CSU leader Horst Seehofer has repeatedly attacked the Chancellor over her refugee policies over the past 12 months, at one stage threatening to take the government (of which his party is a member) to the constitutional court.
Seehofer has demanded an upper limit to the number of refugees Germany takes in per year of 200,000. Merkel continues to reject this demand.
But Seehofer has also softened his stance, telling Spiegel over the weekend that “even if there are still differences, we can live with them.”