Bavaria’s old Prime Minister is also the new head of government. As expected as Söder’s re-election was, some of the tones give an idea of the harsh wind that will blow in Bavaria’s state parliament in the future.
CSU leader Markus Söder has been re-elected Bavarian Prime Minister. Immediately after his re-election, he declared war on all opponents of democracy in his short inaugural speech in the state parliament in Munich.
“I’m not afraid of anti-democrats. But I’ll tell you one thing: anti-democrats should beware of us (…). Not only are we more, but we are convinced that we want to protect this country and our constitution.”
In the vote, Söder received the necessary majority with 120 yes votes in the first round. A total of 198 MPs voted in the secret election, 76 voted against Söder and there were two abstentions.
Addressing the AfD, Söder said: “Do your work. But please spare us from nationalistic conspiracy theories, with demarcations when they talk about cartel parties or old parties.” Without mentioning the AfD by name, he said that it was the oldest party in the state parliament, “at least in terms of its ideas.” “Because these are slogans that were uttered 100 years ago, and we don’t want to hear them in this house.”
AfD attacks against Söder
Before the election, there was a sometimes tough debate at the beginning of the meeting. AfD parliamentary group leader Katrin Ebner-Steiner used her speaking time to launch violent attacks on Söder and the state government. She particularly railed against immigrants and children with a migrant background, but also said things like: “Their so-called vaccinations are life-threatening.”
Free Voters faction leader Florian Streibl countered to great applause from all other factions: “If there is a shame for Bavaria, then she has just spoken.” The new edition of the coalition between the CSU and Free Voters “exactly” reflects the will of the people in the country and the Free Voters are “proud” to be able to elect Söder with a large majority. “Yes, we are two factions, but we support a state government.”
“It will be a big challenge this legislative period,” said CSU parliamentary group leader Klaus Holetschek. There is no place for fake news, hatred and agitation here. Regarding the AfD, he said: “We will expose them, I can promise you that.”
Greens in coalition: focus on facts
Green party leader Katharina Schulze called on the state government to have the courage to make the necessary changes so that Bavaria does not lose its leading role in view of the dynamics in the world. “Just keeping it safe isn’t enough.” She appeals to the coalition to deal with the opposition in a factual and fact-oriented manner, without populism and fake news. SPD parliamentary group leader Florian von Brunn also called for a joint approach by all “democratic factions” to protect democracy: “We cannot achieve the tasks that lie ahead of us through populism.”
In his short speech, Söder also called for unity and fairness among the Democrats. The more serious the times and the more difficult the challenges, the more important it is for Democrats to stick together. Politics must give people support and hope, while party tactics must take a back seat. “We are there primarily for the people and not for ourselves.” Alluding to the Corona crisis, he said: “In the most difficult times, the solidarity here with large parts of the opposition was greatest.”
Söder emphasized that it was a great honor for him to enjoy the trust of the vast majority of the state parliament. The government will meet the voters’ expectations, but politics is more than the implementation of election promises. It’s also about taking responsibility for a country, “even if one or the other may not support you.”
Söder’s election was the only item on the agenda at the meeting. Thanks to the stable majority of CSU and Free Voters, Söder’s new election was a formality. Both government factions together make up 122 of the 203 representatives – two representatives from the CSU and Free Voters were missing from the vote.
In office since 2018
This is Söder’s third election as prime minister. He was elected to office for the first time in March 2018 as the successor to Horst Seehofer. At that time, the CSU still had the absolute majority of representatives. After the state elections the following October, Söder was elected for the second time in November, this time with votes from the Free Voters, who governed with the CSU.
A little more than three weeks after the state elections, the formation of a government in Bavaria has not been completed; the new cabinet will be sworn in on November 8th. Who will move into the cabinet for the CSU has not yet been officially announced.
The Free Voters, for their part, announced last Thursday after the coalition agreement was signed that, in addition to party leader Hubert Aiwanger (Economy), Thorsten Glauber (Environment), Anna Stolz (Culture) and Fabian Mehring (Digital) would also receive ministerial positions. Tobias Gotthard is to become the new Secretary of State for Economic Affairs.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.