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CSU and Free Voters close to signing coalition agreement

Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) / Photo: Sven Hoppe/dpa
Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) / Photo: Sven Hoppe/dpa

The CSU and the Free Voters are about to sign their next coalition agreement, just two weeks after negotiations began.

Just two weeks after negotiations began, the CSU and the Free Voters are on the verge of signing their next coalition agreement. Both parties have invited committee meetings for Thursday morning to sign off on what is rumored to be an approximately 80-page contract. It can therefore be assumed that all the main points of contention - including the division of ministries - were resolved at final rounds of talks on Wednesday. There was no confirmation of this in the evening, however.

The approval of the respective bodies is considered a formality. The signing of the coalition agreement was planned for Thursday afternoon in the state parliament, according to information from the Deutsche Presse-Agentur - but there was initially no invitation for this.

In the CSU, the party executive and state parliamentary group want to discuss and decide together. "Presentation of the results of the coalition negotiations for the formation of a new Bavarian state government," it says in the invitation, which was sent internally. And then: "Consultation and resolution on the approval of the results of negotiations for a coalition agreement." Also with the free voters want to advise national executive committee and parliamentary group together.

In both rounds it is likely to go apart from contents and ministry allocation also again around the fundamental form of co-operation in the government. As much as CSU and Free Voters in the very noiseless negotiations around a constructive togetherness tried, from the outset the bad personal relationship of Söder and Free Voter leader Hubert Aiwanger burdened the cooperation.

The tense togetherness culminated in the fact that there was no joint appearance of the party leaders during the entire negotiations, no photo and also no other camera image. The rounds were led by the heads of the state parliamentary groups, Klaus Holetschek (CSU) and Florian Streibl (Free Voters). Söder and Aiwanger took part in the substantive negotiations only a few times, always when fundamental compromises had to be found. Contentwise so far only a preamble was announced, which is to contain a commitment to democracy and a clear demarcation against the AfD.

Last Söder, Aiwanger, Holetschek and Streibl had negotiated on Wednesday then the distribution of the ministries. Also of this conversation of several hours penetrated but initially nothing to the outside. In general, the allocation of ministries was always considered the most difficult part of the negotiation, since the Free Voters demanded another, fourth ministry from the CSU after their record election results on October 8. Aiwangers desire to take over the agricultural department, Söder had already categorically rejected before the election.

It was further expected that the cuts of the houses change. For example, it was rumored that the digital ministry, which was only founded in 2018, will be moved to another ministry, such as the Ministry of Finance and Homeland. Also with other houses, for example, housing, construction and transport or the Ministry of Agriculture was speculated about changes.

The further schedule of CSU and Free Voters provides that Söder should be re-elected on October 31 as Prime Minister, one day after the constituent session of the newly elected state parliament. The new cabinet could then be sworn in as early as November 8. By then, the names of the ministers will also have to be decided. According to reports, this is to take place with the CSU only on November 7 - with the Free Voters the names could already be called on this Thursday.

CSU and Free Voters had already governed together in the past legislative period. In the new state parliament, they together have a stable majority of 122 of the total 203 seats.

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