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Will Bavaria's election force Germany's interior minister to resign?

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By Daniel Bellamy  with Reuters
Will Bavaria's election force Germany's interior minister to resign?

As state elections loom in Bavaria on Sunday the CSU party that has been in power, either outright or in coalition for the past 60 years, looks like it may post its worst result ever.

Support for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative government has waned since she decided in 2015 to open the doors to over one million migrants, most of them refugees.

The move boosted the far-right and forced her this year to cobble together a frail and loveless national coalition with the Social Democrat Party or CDU party.

It also fuelled divisions with the CDU's Bavarian sister party, the CSU, which has suffered, just like the CDU, from the surging anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Polls suggest the CSU will win at most 35 percent, losing its absolute majority, while the AfD is set to enter the state assembly for the first time with upwards of 10 percent.

Another threat to the CSU comes from the Green party who are now running second behind them in the opinion polls.

“The CSU has handled it badly. They started off trying to outflank the anti-migrant AfD party by talking tough on migration. That really put off some of their conservative voters who might be churchgoers, who might be pro-refugee," Damien McGuinness, German political correspondent for the BBC and the Economist told Euronews.

"The party then shifted tact, they realised this didn’t work. And they suddenly started criticising the anti-migrant AfD. They started not talking about migration anymore and that really made them seem lacking credibility."

Some pro-refugee CSU voters are likely to switch sides.

“They have been really disappointed by the CSU’s tough line on migration and a lot of them have migrated over to the Greens,” McGuinness added.

The CSU leader, who also happens to be Germany's Interior minister, may also be in trouble.

Horst Seehofer been a constant headache for Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government - often trying to push for harder migation policies.

And he may have to resign as both party leader and interior minister in Merkel’s government if the CSU does badly.