Berlin Coalition Partners Take a Beating in Elections in Bavaria and Hesse
The Oct. 8 elections for a new state parliament in Bavaria and in Hesse delivered a resounding blow to the federal government, with all three parties losing votes. While economic and migration issues were at the center of both election campaigns, Berlin’s pro-war policy was only opposed by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
More than Bavaria, Hesse was a challenge to the federal government, because the top candidate of the SPD, Chancellor Scholz’s party, was Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser. The SPD received an all-time low of only 15.1%. As for the Greens, they are down to 14.8%, a drop of 5% compared to the last state elections, in 2018. The third partner, the liberal FDP, got only 5% (-2%), just making it over the threshold for entering the parliament by a couple of hundred votes. The winners in Hesse were a) the governing CDU with 34.6% (+7.6%) b) the Alternative for Germany (AfD), with 18.4% (+5.4%), making it the second-strongest party in the state.
In Bavaria, the governing Christian Social Union won hands down with 37%, followed by the Free Voters, its coalition partner, which received 15,8%, and the AfD with 14.6%, both of the latter improving their score by 5%. Here also, the coalition parties in Berlin were the losers: 14.4% for the Greens, 8.4% for the SPD and only 3% for the FDP, which will not be represented in parliament. Massive scandal-mongering by leading Bavarian media with the intent to force outgoing Minister President Markus Söder not to renew his coalition government with the Free Voters, but to chose the Greens instead, boomeranged totally.
Thus, the coalitions now in power in both states will likely be maintained: CDU and Greens in Hesse, and CSU and Free Voters in Bavaria. A coalition with the AfD has been ruled out by all other parties.
It must be said that none of the political parties has an agenda that could improve the economic and social situation of Germany and present an alternative to the danger of escalation into an all-out war between NATO and Russia. One interesting aspect, however, is what will become of a proposal made by Hesse Minister President of the CDU Boris Rhein during a high-profile debate organized by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung endorsing a return to nuclear power and calling for development of thermonuclear fusion. The Greens, Rhein’s likely partner in a new coalition government, are, of course, strictly opposed to that perspective.