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SIDEBAR After Bavarian blowout, CSU leader admits failings in asylum row

Europe
15.10.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Munich (dpa) - German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has admitted failings during a row about asylum policy within the governing coalition earlier this year ... a fight that many voters say has turned them off the current government.

"The style of the disagreement" was his biggest mistake in the past half year, Seehofer told public broadcaster ZDF on Monday in a programme entitled "What Now, Mr Seehofer?"

Seehofer, who is also leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), the sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s Christian Democrats (CDU), is under pressure after his party suffered major losses in Sunday‘s election for the regional parliament in Munich.

Seehofer stressed, however, that he was still in favour of sending certain migrants back at Germany‘s borders and that this meant the disagreement‘s "content was correct."

Seehofer‘s row with Merkel regarding asylum policy nearly brought the national coalition between the CDU, CSU and centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) to the brink of collapse in June and July.

The CSU leader rejected the accusation that his party had lurched to the right during the election campaign.

The CSU has found itself sandwiched between the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), the conservative Free Voters (Freie Waehler) and the environmentalist Greens.

Since the last election in 2013, the CSU saw its support drop by more than 10 percentage points to just over 37 per cent on Sunday; the AfD won 10.2 per cent on its first attempt, the Free Voters almost 12 per cent, and the Greens were the biggest winners, gaining 10 points to come in second on 17.5 per cent.

It now looks likely that the CSU will form a government with the Free Voters.

Seehofer pleaded in Monday‘s interview for a review of the CSU‘s defeat in the state election to wait until after the end of the coalition negotiations.

"The most important thing is to form a government," Seehofer said.

Those who campaigned for stability during the election should not now cause instability with internal debates, he said.

Seehofer refused to discuss his future plans during the interview, but he conceded: "Everyone is replaceable, me especially."

The CSU has therefore agreed on a procedure that will conclude the open-ended review of the election later this year, he said.

 

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