CSU, Free Voters sign coalition agreement in German state of Bavaria

BERLIN, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) — The Christian Social Union (CSU) and Free Voters (FW) have signed their first-ever coalition agreement in German state of Bavaria on Monday.

“It is not a change of direction but also not business as usual,” the Bavarian governor and regional CSU leader Markus Soeder commented on the pact which was reached less than a month after an electoral earthquake shook the southern German state.

FW leader Hubert Aiwanger emphasized that the new coalition had been chosen to assume responsibility for the everyday problems of citizens rather than to pursue partisan policies.

Aiwanger expressed confidence that Bavaria had five good years ahead of it. Like the CSU, FW only competes in Bavarian elections and has so far mainly campaigned on local policy issues. According to the coalition agreement, the party will now nominate the regional ministers of the economy, environment and culture in Munich.

The CSU recently slumped to its worst ever result of 37.2 percent in closely-watched regional elections in Bavaria. The conservative sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has traditionally defended an absolute legislative majority and was consequently forced to find a coalition partner in order to hold on to power in its home state.

Soeder previously ruled out forming an electoral alliance with the far-right Alternative for Germany (10.2 percent), leaving only the Greens (17.5 percent) and FW movement (11.6 percent) as potential coalition partners with whom the CSU would achieve a sufficient number of delegates in Munich to pass regional policy.

The CSU and FW announced on Monday that they would place emphases on environmental themes and the provision of childcare during the next legislative period.

Bordering Czechia to the East and Austria to the South, Bavaria is amongst the largest and richest of Germany’s 16 federal states.

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