|Bavaria crucial for Merkel poll momentum
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives are gunning for a decisive win when wealthy Bavaria goes to the polls Sunday to help propel her to a third term in the national election a week later.
Bavaria's ruling Christian Social Union, the sister party to Merkel's Christian Democrats, has long relied on a winning strategy of “laptops and lederhosen,’’ pairing high-tech business savvy with cherished tradition, AFP reports.
That will by all accounts drive it once again to victory, and possibly to an absolute majority of seats in the regional parliament, providing Merkel with essential momentum for the September 22 poll.
But political scientist Jens Walther of the University of Duesseldorf warned that even if the CSU wins a respectable 43 percent – its score at the last state election in 2008 --, it would be “a horrible result for the conservatives and that would of course put a damper’’ on its general election chances.
Merkel's CDU is the clear favorite to win the national vote with a 14-point lead in polls over the main opposition Social Democrats. But a continuation of her center-right coalition is far less certain.
Thus a strong showing in Bavaria with its 9.5 million eligible voters can provide a vital boost to Merkel.
The CSU has ruled Bavaria uninterrupted for 56 years.
The folksy party can expect to win between 46 and 48 percent of the vote in a state blessed with rich farmland, the Alps and powerhouse companies such as BMW, Audi and Siemens, polls indicate.
That puts it within striking distance of dumping its pro-business coalition ally, the Free Democrats, and governing alone.
The Social Democrats are only polling at 18 to 21 percent.
Meanwhile the FDP, Merkel's junior partner in power, could crash out of the state parliament altogether by failing to clear the 5 percent hurdle to representation.