As political snubs go, this one is a doozy. German newspaper Die Welt is reporting that the Bavarian conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) party is not planning any campaign appearances with Angela Merkel, the head of Germany's main conservative party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Instead the Bavarians are planning to invite a foreign guest, Austria's conservative chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.
"There won't be a female chancellor coming to my final speech, but there will be a male chancellor," Bavarian state premier Markus Söder is quoted as saying.
The jibe is but the latest incident in an ongoing spat between the two conservative parties, which function as a single parliamentary group at the national level in Germany's parliament, the Bundestag. At issue is Merkel's policy toward migrants. Söder, together with other CSU leaders like party head and current Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, want Germany to start turning away certain migrants at its national borders. Merkel considers this incompatible with the principle of freedom of movement under the European Union's Schengen Agreement and is seeking an EU-wide approach to the migrant issue.
Detractors say that Söder has adopted some of the language and ideas of the far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. The state premier has come under fire for using the term "asylum tourism" for refugees who move from one EU country to another in search of the best situation and for calling Germany a "Belehrungsdemokratie" — a German term for a democracy that treats it citizens as if the government knows better than they do.
Seehofer's role in the stand-off and his personal distance from Merkel have been well documented. But Söder is an equal if not more powerful force driving the hardline camp among Bavarian conservatives.
Söder's enhanced appeal on the far right hasn't moved the CSU's poll numbers in a positive direction. According to Forsa, only 40 percent of respondents plan to vote conservative in October. That's 7.7 percent less than voted for the CSU in the previous Bavarian election four years ago — and far from the level Söder needs to defend his party's absolute majority and keep his own political career on track.
Disregard the Polls
CDU is not running in Bavaria. Merkel's alleged popularity cannot help her.
If CSU needs to form a coalition to govern, you can exclude the Greens, SPD, and the far left. FDP is unlikely to put CSU over the top.
Hmm. What remains?
If necessary, CSU will form an alliance with AfD. No one else that I am aware of has discussed this possibility
The Bavaria state election is October 14.
For discussion of the heart of the matter, please see EU's 5-Point Migration Problem in a Nutshell.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock