Merkel allies in battle for Bavaria

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on October 3, 2018 - Duration: 01:58s

Merkel allies in battle for Bavaria

Right-wing anti-immigration party AfD looks set to end the absolute majority of Angela Merkel's allies in Bavaria.

Sam Holder reports.

Merkel allies in battle for Bavaria

Bavaria's Oktoberfest in full swing.

One of the powerful German state's grand traditions.

But another - of the political variety - is under threat.

For 50 years - the southern region has been dominated by just one party: The Christian Social Union.

Now, for only the second time it faces losing its absolute majority, thanks to right-wing anti-migrant and anti-Islam party AFD.

They're set to take 12 percent in regional elections.

Entering Bavaria's parliament for the first time and destabilising CSU control.

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) AFD MEMBER OF GERMAN PARLIAMENT AND AFD LEADER IN STATE OF BAVARIA, MARTIN SICHERT: "We are a party that has very clear ideas of its party programme and which addresses many topics which the other parties would prefer to sweep under the carpet.

That's why more and more people are voting for us because they are saying that these topics belong on the agenda.

For example the topic of immigration." The CSU is allied with Angela Merkel's CDU.

Leader Horst Seehofer - that's him in the striped tie - is interior minister.

So results will be felt at national level, as well as in Bavaria.

Reuters correspondent Madeline Chambers is in Berlin: (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) MADELINE CHAMBERS, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT IN BERLIN: "Some people say he might even have to resign.

That could be a double edged sword for Merkel.

It might make her life easier in the short term because he is a difficult partner for her and they've had some deep divisive rows… but on the other hand, ultimately losses for a Conservative party mean bad news for the Conservative bloc and that's bad for Merkel." The AFD is now the third largest party in Germany.

It was criticised this summer after some members joined hard-right groups at anti-immigrant protests in Chemnitz.

But their anti-Islam and anti-migrant stance may resonate in the October 14th elections.

As Bavaria has been the entry point for 1 and a half million migrants over the past three years.

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