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BACKGROUND The Free Voters of Bavaria - kingmaker in state election

Europe
15.10.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Munich (dpa) - The Free Voters of Bavaria have emerged as the third-strongest party and kingmaker in German state elections that have robbed the once-powerful Christian Social Union (CSU) of its parliamentary majority.

The Free Voters (Freie Waehler) are a national association founded in 1978 as an umbrella organization for political candidates without a party affiliation, but as a political party, they have been most successful in the southern states of Bavaria and Baden Wuerttemberg.

The Free Voters are a centrist party often chosen as a protest vote by people disenchanted with the established parties. On some issues, their positions are left-leaning, such as on environmental and social policy; on others, such as immigration and security, they take conservative positions aligned with the CSU.

Their vote share in Sunday‘s election - 11.6 per cent - makes them the most likely partner in a coalition with the CSU, which won 37.2 per cent of the vote, more than 10 percentage points less than during the last election cycle.

The Free Voters‘ manifesto in Sunday‘s state elections focused on creating equal living conditions and housing opportunities, on protecting the environment, on restricting immigration and preserving Bavarian culture and traditions.

Ahead of the vote, party leader Huber Aiwanger - a frequent critic of the CSU‘s dominance in the state - said the CSU "must lose its absolute majority so that Bavaria can be governed sensibly - so that the situation can stabilize."

 

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