Germany's Bavaria to elect state Parliament

Germany's Bavaria to elect state Parliament

Germans in the southern state of Bavaria will go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new regional parliament, in a vote that can see the state’s governing conservative party lose its absolute majority.

The Christian Social Union (CSU), a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s federal government, has ruled the rich state since 1957 and now holds 101 seats in the 180-seat Landtag. Its leader, Horst Seehofer, is also federal interior minister.

But that may change soon, polls show. The latest ZDF survey predicted CSU was in for its second biggest election loss, with around 34 percent of votes. The only time it fared worse was in 1950 when the right-wing party got 27.4 percent.

The leftist Social Democratic Party (SPD), Merkel’s other coalition partner, is also expected to lose seats, while the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) looks set to enter the regional parliament for the first time.

The ZDF survey ranked the Greens second with 19 percent, followed by the SPD with 12 percent. The centrist Free Voters (FW) and the AfD are each predicted to secure 10 percent of the vote, while the liberal Free Democratic Party may win 5.5 percent. All of them, save the far-right AfD, are potential candidates for a ruling coalition with the CSU.

The polls open at 8 a.m. (06:00 GMT) and close at 6 p.m. (16:00 GMT). Nearly 9.5 million people out of the state’s 12.5-million population are eligible to vote in the ballot.

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