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Söder and the CSU: shut down, shut down, shut down

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analysis

To: 21/07/2022 18:24

For customs, for nuclear power, against the traffic light government: At the summer meeting of the CSU, it becomes clear how much the party and its boss Söder are still struggling with their new strategy. But where does this lead?

Sharp criticism of the traffic light and many of its own demands: the CSU has arrived in the federal opposition in the opposition, as the summer retreat of Bundestag deputies in the Upper Franconia monastery of Banz showed . Your list of orders for the federal government is long – nuclear power expansion, missile protection shield, new free trade agreements, corporate tax reform, scrapping bonus for energy-intensive household appliances and much Moreover.

Perhaps more important than individual demands is the message the meeting is meant to send: the CSU, like its big sister party the CDU, wants to represent strength and stability again. After the federal elections, a quiet doubt surrounded Christian Socialists: How important was Markus Söder’s contribution to the poor results of the Union with Armin Laschet after his failed candidacy for chancellor? How can CSU his Bayern, changing, staying number one or even regaining its old strength?

Söder’s strategic question

Above all, the question of strategy preoccupied Christian Socialists more and more. Söder has reinvented himself more often since taking over as head of the State Chancellery in 2018: first brutal and disturbing to many (“asylum tourism”), waiting as the country’s caring father with a focus on insect rescue. During the Corona period, Söder was strict and concerned, and his polls had reached enormous heights in the meantime. At one point, he annoyed many with his constant warning – and eventually announced his move to “Team Freedom”.

And now, with regional elections just over a year away, which the CSU boss has declared to be “Bavaria’s election of fate”? Which Söder enters the next state election campaign is only vaguely recognizable. Besides the persistent criticism of traffic lights in Berlin, which supposedly hates Bavaria, he is currently trying his hand at identity politics. Against gender, for traditional costumes, against vegan food, for old Bavarian butchers, etc. “We are cosmopolitan – not provincial, but values-oriented,” Söder told deputies at Banz Monastery, according to attendees.

Söder at the folk festival, Söder at the fire brigade

Otherwise, the Prime Minister bets on proximity, proximity, proximity: Söder at the folk festival, Söder at the fire brigade, Söder at the samba festival in Franconia. The party leader expects a lot: “Anyone can do video conferences, only CSU can do beer tents,” he told Banz internally. The CSU is therefore once again targeting so-called regular voters. This is at least a small course correction: after the federal elections, one of the main conclusions was to reach out to the many newcomers to Bavaria – who were perhaps not so euphoric about traditional costumes and the love of sausages.

Repeated internal firefights between the Greens and the FDP, difficult energy situation: times are not so bad for the opposition, to which the CSU now belongs. But: In Bavaria, the people continue to govern – and have done so without interruption for almost 70 years. And at the federal level too, constant criticism at traffic lights is one thing. Because the contest points out: Until recently, the CSU was part of the federal government during those 16 years in which, for example, dependence on Russian energy grew steadily.

Power-conscious CSU

There are also other areas of attack, even if they are fading: the hidden contracts of the former CSU MPs Sauter and Nüßlein, the suspicions of plagiarism against the new General Secretary Martin Huber, the failed car toll and its costly consequences.

Anyone who asks around him, at the CSU and elsewhere, will get very different credentials for Söder’s Bavarian election result in the fall of 2023. Some say: even with 33% he can remain prime minister, provided he can quickly build a stable coalition.

The others say: Even 35% might be too little for the power-conscious CSU, especially if Söder were to need two coalition partners instead of the previous one. And those who don’t think so well with the CSU boss set the bar at 40%.

Söder’s core customer base

The next few months will show how well Söder’s mix of physical closeness to people, rebuke from Berlin and focus on regular customers works. The Christian Socialists also do not yet have a Bavarian theme for the election campaign. In any case, saying no to the excessive transit traffic of trucks in southern Bavaria should only work on a regional level.

Will the state government’s proclaimed “implementation year” for Söder’s Bavarian plans, from the high-tech agenda to the property boom, convince voters? Will demonstrative unity with the CDU under Friedrich Merz bring back frightened conservatives? It’s all part of the big puzzle that the CSU is currently sitting in front of. Whether the puzzle paints a cohesive picture in the end should also decide the future of Söder’s career.


Source www.tagesschau.de

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