A key ally of Angela Merkel is stepping down after disastrous election results that have undermined the German Chancellor. Erwin Huber led Bavaria’s Christian Social Union to its worst result in decades in a state election on Sunday.
The CSU is the sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and a crucial supporter in the natinal parliament. It lost the absolute majority it had held in Bavaria’s state assembly for nearly half a century and will be forced to form a coalition government.
The sharp drop in support for the CSU in the weekend poll is a blow to Merkel’s prospects of winning re-election in a federal vote next year. She relies heavily on the Bavarian party for her majority in the German parliament.
Yesterday Huber blamed his party’s losses at least partly on Merkel, saying the CSU was paying the price for policy compromises Social Democrats, the CDU’s partners in the ruling coalition.
It is widely expected Huber will be replaced as CSU leader by Horst Seehofer, a federal agriculture and consumer minister. Analysts say he is likely to take a more confrontational approach to Merkel.