Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soeder salutes with a mug of beer after his speech during the Gillamoos Bavarian political event in Abensberg, southern Germany, on September 3, 2018. AFP / Christof STACHE
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For decades the conservative Christian Social Union has run the state of Bavaria – famous for BMWs, beer festivals and the Bayern Munich football club – as it sees fit, ignoring the vagaries of German national politics.At the Oct. 14 state election, the CSU is likely to lose its absolute majority – with which it has ruled Bavaria for most of the postwar period, and which has allowed the party to punch above its weight as a partner in successive governments.Support for the CSU has slumped to 36 percent from the 47.7 percent it scored at the last Bavarian election in 2013 .More recently, Bavaria's economic strength has allowed the CSU to exert influence disproportionate to its size in its alliance – 'the Union' – with Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which does not field candidates in Bavaria.The CSU's hard-nosed approach with Merkel on immigration had only boosted the AfD and driven away liberal CSU voters, he added.In a recent Forsa survey in Bavaria, one third of CSU voters said they would rather vote CDU than CSU if they could, Guellner said.
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