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1ST LEAD Merkel's Bavarian allies move to end party leadership battle By Andrew McCathie, dpa

Europe
23.11.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - Bavarian state Premiere Horst Seehofer - a key ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel - could set out plans Thursday aimed at ending a bitter power struggle in his arch-conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) party.

"Tonight everything will be clear," said Seehofer ahead of a meeting of the CSU executive in Munich. He faces pressure from his party ranks to step aside following the CSU‘s disastrous showing in September‘s national elections.

The CSU executive is set to officially agree in early December on "a new future personnel line-up" to end the rivalry regarding the group‘s leadership. The stand-off is between Seehofer, who is also party chief, and Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Soeder, officials said on Thursday.

CDU members expects the 68-year-old Seehofer will set out a compromise allowing him to remain party chief, but giving up the post of premier.

The job of premier of the wealthy Bavarian state is now likely to go to the 50-year-old Soeder, in the hope that the CSU can enter the campaign for next year‘s state election as a united party. The CSU also hopes this will help head off the threat posed to the group by the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Bavaria‘s power struggle has also spilled over onto the national political stage.

Seehofer took a tough uncompromising stance with Merkel on the need for an upper limit on refugees, reflecting Soeder‘s hardline position on the number of refugees entering the nation.

The CSU scored only 38.8 per cent of the Bavarian vote in the September national election - down from 49.3 per cent in the 2013 ballot - following a surge in support for the AfD. The party only appears on the ballot in that state.

 

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