CSU and Free Voters begin coalition talks in Bavaria
Three days after the state elections in Bavaria, the CDU and Free Voters have begun talks to form a coalition.
Led by party leaders Horst Seehofer and Hubert Aiwanger, the conservative CSU and center to center-right Free Voters are looking to lay down the groundwork for possible coalition negotiations.
For most of their 73-year history, the CSU have single-handedly governed Bavaria, but after an unprecedented low result of 37.2 percent in Sunday’s elections, are now looking for a coalition partner.
They don’t have any time to waste. "Let's get started now," Seehofer said on Wednesday when he arrived at the state parliament in Munich.
Discussions with the Greens, who won around 17 percent of the vote, are planned for the afternoon. Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) stressed that he was "optimistic about the talks".
As in the past few days, Aiwanger was confident that the two parties could reach an agreement quickly. "We'll manage," he said, pointing out that the parties have been working towards this for years. The Free Voters of Bavaria, founded in 1978, have not yet been in a coalition with a major party.
Directly after the exploratory talks with both the Free Voters and the Greens, the CSU wants to decide with which party it wants to start coalition negotiations.
It remains to be seen how much time both the Greens and Free Voters will need to speak out for - or against - coalition negotiations. The Free Voters could vote on it at their party conference on October 27th.
Söder and Seehofer had repeatedly stressed over the past few days that they sympathize more with an alliance with the Free Voters, whose major issues span the political spectrum - from stricter border controls to a push for greater renewable energies - but who encompass more conservative viewpoints.
However, the Free Voters also campaign for social issues, such as free daycare for families.
With the Greens, for example, the CSU's sees considerable differences in content in the areas of domestic politics and environmental protection.
It is also unclear whether the SPD, who snagged a historically low 9.7 percent of the vote, would still be prepared to meet with the CSU for exploratory talks - which their leadership board wants to discuss on Sunday, reported DPA. This option would only come into effect if talks with Greens and Free Voters failed.