Much is at stake for Angela Merkel in Bavaria’s state election. A poor result for her conservative allies could lead to more government instability. But the election also signals bigger changes in German politics.
Whatever happens in Bavaria’s election on Sunday, it promises to be a bellwether for German, or even European, politics for years to come.
At one level, the regional election will act as the next Angela Merkel litmus test, a series that has been going on for several years that is supposed to illustrate the relentless decline of the chancellor’s popularity.
Though, of course, the immediate impact of Bavaria on Merkel’s standing will be limited.
Thanks to a quirk in the conservative section of Germany’s political spectrum, the chancellor is not part of the Christian Social Union (CSU) that governs the affluent southern state, even though her CDU has been allied to the Bavarian conservatives since their foundation. Not only that, but she was summarily excluded from the CSU’s election campaign, which will make it hard for her enemies to blame her if there’s a disastrous result for the CSU.