Bavaria to elect new premier after party revolt
The German state of Bavaria was set to elect a new premier, Horst Seehofer, 59, on Monday after the party he leads, the Christian Social Union (CSU), formed a coalition with a smaller, pro-business party, dpa reported.
The Free Democrat Party (FDP) won seats in the Bavarian state assembly in a September 28 poll for the first time in 14 years and is to go straight into government, taking over the economy and science ministries.
An FDP convention in the city of Ingolstadt approved the arrangement Sunday.
The two parties plan to partly relax a strict ban on smoking in bars which was blamed by some for the CSU's loss of one third of its traditional support at the state election.
After the loss in support to just 43 per cent of ballots, the Bavaria-only CSU deposed both its former leader, Erwin Huber, and its state premier, Guenther Beckstein.
Seehofer is to take over both offices, giving up his post as Germany's farm minister. The state legislature is expected to appoint him at a session on Monday. He has promised to stand up against Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin in support of Bavarian interests.
The small FDP party has suggested that a successful state coalition will persuade German voters to back a similar coalition at federal level when they go to the polls next September.
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, the Bavarian FDP chairwoman, said, "It's a road-sign pointing the way to Berlin."