Bavarian election: Embattled CSU and SPD in last minute push to win back voters

As the state election campaign in Bavaria draws to a close, the embattled CSU and SPD are launching major rallies on Friday in a last desperate push to draw in voters.

Bavarian election: Embattled CSU and SPD in last minute push to win back voters
Bavaria will go to the polls on Sunday. Will the polls be correct? Photo: DPA

Both parties are in extremely difficult positions ahead of the election on Sunday. According to polls, both the Christian Socialists and the Social Democrats can expect heavy losses.

The ZDF ‘Politbarometer’, which was released late on Thursday, showed the CSU are currently at 34 percent, which is one percentage point less than the previous week. The Greens remain the second strongest force with 19 percent – a plus of one percentage point. The SPD lag behind with 12 percent.

Interestingly, the Free Voters' Party (Die Freien Wähler or FW), a conservative party which governs at a local level and is led by Hubert Aiwanger, have 10 percent. The AfD also scored 10 percent.

According to the ‘Politbarometer’, the Free Democrats (FDP)  managed 5.5 percent, while the Left Party (Die Linke) is at 4 percent (minus 0.5 points since the previous poll). Both parties will struggle to enter the state parliament if the polls are correct.

SEE ALSO: What you need to know about the upcoming Bavarian election

A total of 1075 voters were randomly selected in Bavaria for the most recent survey. 

In the state elections of 2013, the CSU still had 47.7 percent of the votes, the SPD ended up with 20.6 percent, the Free Voters' Party scooped 9 percent while the Greens only had 8.6 percent. 

Final rallies

In contrast to the Bundestag election a year ago, the CSU will not be supported by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) at its official final rally in Munich happening Friday at 6pm.

Instead, Prime Minister Markus Söder will appear with party leader Horst Seehofer and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP).

At around the same time in Schweinfurt, SPD top candidate Natascha Kohnen and party leader Andrea Nahles will once again speak out against the decline of the Bavarian SPD and hope to inject some positive energy into their campaign.

Other parties are also staging election campaign events on Friday. For the Greens, who are currently riding on a wave of euphoria thanks to their recent boost, Baden-Württemberg's Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann will be in the Swabian town of Ustersbach in the afternoon, and at 6pm, top candidate Ludwig Hartmann and former party leader Cem Özdemir will be in Munich.

In Nuremberg, high profile Brexit opponent Norman Baker, a member of the UK party the Liberal Democrats, will speak at an event organized by the FDP.

SEE ALSO: After beer and dirndl campaign, Bavarian politics is facing a shake-up

The CSU, which has so far been the sole governing party in Bavaria, has been polling between 33 and 35 percent in recent polls so it's likely that the party will not score a majority and will have to search for a coalition partner.

The most stable alliance would be one with the Greens, but commentators say the parties might be too different for that formation – and other partnerships are also possible.

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‘Russia must not win this war,’ says Germany’s Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged once again to stand with Ukraine against Russia - but said Ukraine's bid to join the EU cannot be sped up.

'Russia must not win this war,' says Germany's Scholz

Scholz said the war in Ukraine was the greatest crisis facing the EU in its history, but that solidarity was strong. 

“We are all united by one goal: Russia must not win this war, Ukraine must prevail,” Scholz said in the speech to the Bundestag on Thursday.

Putin thinks he can use bombs to dictate the terms for peace, the SPD politician said. 

“He’s wrong. He was wrong in judging the unity of Ukrainians, and the determination of our alliances. Russia will not dictate peace because the Ukrainians won’t accept it and we won’t accept it.”

Scholz said it was only when Putin understands that he cannot break Ukraine’s defence capability that he would “be prepared to seriously negotiate peace”.

For this, he said, it is important to strengthen Ukraine’s defences. 

Scholz also pledged to help cut Europe free from its reliance on Russian energy. 

The Chancellor welcomed the accession of Finland and Sweden to Nato. “With you at our side, Nato, Europe will become stronger and safer,” he said.

However, Scholz dampened expectations for Ukraine’s quick accession to the EU.

“There are no shortcuts on the way to the EU,” Scholz said, adding that an exception for Ukraine would be unfair to the Western Balkan countries also seeking membership.

“The accession process is not a matter of a few months or years,” he said.

Scholz had in April called for Western Balkan countries’ efforts to join the EU to be accelerated amid a “new era” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Last October, EU leaders at a summit in Slovenia only reiterated their “commitment to the enlargement process” in a statement that disappointed the six candidates for EU membership — Albania, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Kosovo – who had hoped for a concrete timetable.

“For years, they have been undertaking intensive reforms and preparing for accession,” Scholz said on Thursday.

“It is not only a question of our credibility that we keep our promises to them. Today more than ever, their integration is also in our strategic interest,” he said.

The chancellor said he would be attending the EU summit at the end of May “with the clear message that the Western Balkans belong in the European Union”.

Scholz also called for other ways to help Ukraine in the short term, saying the priority was to “concentrate on supporting Ukraine quickly and pragmatically”.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has also said it will take “decades” for a candidate like Ukraine to join the EU, and suggested building a broader political club beyond the bloc that could also include Britain.