The difficulty facing the right-of-centre CSU in the wake of the Bavarian state elections seems to be something along the lines of: you were too racist for some voters and not racist enough for others. The result was they lost considerable voters to the Greens and to the far-right.
For voters sick to the stomach of the CSU’s racist anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim bigotry that dominated their badly misjudged election campaign (notably from the top of the party), around 180,000 of them jumped the fair distance to the Bavarian Greens – a party that is liberal-minded on immigration, has no truck with racism and, though hardly the radical party of yesteryear, still focuses on core environmental issues.
Does it mark a sea change in European-wide eco-politics? It’s not clear, but it sure as hell feels like one. Particularly, in Munich – whose very heart appears to be determinedly greener, more open, than the rest of Bavaria. The CSU still dominates state-wide but it has nowhere near the appeal in Munich, as seen by the city’s website breakdown of the results.
Across Munich, the Greens won 31.1% (19% up) to the CSU’s 24.8% (11.9% down) and the SPD’s terrible 12.8% (19.3% down) – the centre-left party shipped 210,000 voters across Bavaria to the Greens. The far-right AfD won 6.5%, below the 10.2% across the whole state, while the largely rural Free Voters also took votes from the CSU when winning 6.1%..
In my home area, München-Pasing (German), the former CSU deputy lord mayor of Munich (German), Josef Schmid, won with 30.8%. Significantly, however, this was with an 11.9% reduction compared to five years ago. In contrast, the second-placed Greens won 27.9%, up 17.2%.
With European politics in something of a flux, it would be hasty to draw too many continent-wide concrete conclusions. In Munich, however, after consistent performances for a considerable period, and with rising stars such as Katherine Schulze and Benjamin Adjei, unlike the CSU, this seems like a party very much on the up.
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