“The afd is god’s punishment for the csu” – trench warfare at gillamoos

No, no one was allowed to come to the abensberg palace garden on this monday morning because of the cosy atmosphere. Beer from paper cups, no music and cold, wet weather – just a few meters away from the warm beer tents on the gillamoos festival meadow in lower bavaria – are not very inviting. Nevertheless, more and more people stream onto the meadow behind the old castle walls, and in the end there will be more than 600 of them. They all want to hear what the afd has to say. “This is not about cosiness, this is about the future of bavaria and germany, says one of the many orderlies with a female band on his upper arm. At least on this point no one was allowed to disagree.

"We are facing a fateful election in bavaria", a little later, lower bavarian afd top candidate katrin ebner-steiner shouts to the audience. It is one of the first moments when something like a stirring of emotion can be heard among the listeners under their umbrellas. Politics thrives on change, after the meteoric impact in the federal elections it is now bavaria"s turn. "We celebrate our victory march across germany." it only gets louder when the speakers – above all party leader jorg meuthen – talk about multiculturalism and the "complete failure of the state" rant.

What follows is a general reckoning with the CSU ("the afd is god’s punishment for the CSU")."), with the media, the federal government. In the election on 14. On october, the right-wing populists could hardly be denied entry into the bavarian state parliament. The party, which is the only one that has not been able to agree on a statewide leading candidate due to internal quarrels, achieves up to 14 percent in polls.

Ebner-steiner, who can be assigned to the right-wing afd wing around thuringian afd leader bjorn hocke, immediately sets the election target: at least 15 percent and "the gruns as gross abolitionists of germany overtake. She herself rejects right-wing ideas, saying that she is involved in the afd because, as a mother, she is worried about the future of her children.

As confident of victory as the afd appears in its castle ruins, separated from the police, monday morning also shows one thing: in bavaria, as in the rest of germany, the afd is isolated. At least on this point, the CSU, SPD, greens, FDP and free democrats are all agreed. One and a half months before the election that was it with the commonalities but then already.

For the CSU and its top candidate, markus soder, a strong afd poses a real problem: if all the current polls are to be believed, the absolute majority could not be achieved on 14. October to be gone. Only 36 percent at last count. There is no sign of euphoria in the CSU tent at the gillamoos, even though soder receives a lot of applause for his speech. On the one hand, he defends the CSU’s tough stance on refugee policy; on the other, he tries to pass himself off as a grieving father of the state. Family allowance, care allowance – all these things only exist in bavaria, for example. "Bavaria is a springboard and a shield, while federal states like berlin are the republic’s "back ramp", mocks soder.

And yet, in a few weeks, he will most likely have to look for at least one coalition partner – something he would actually like to avoid. "The only things they want are official cars and ministerial posts, he lasts among other things with regard to the free voters and the FDP. However, soder distances himself particularly sharply from the greens. When it comes to integration and immigration, for example, their history is "one big historical mistake".

The depth of the CSU and the shifts in the party landscape could in the end not only ensure six parties in the state parliament, but also make a civic tripartite alliance necessary: only with the FDP and free voters can the CSU currently achieve a voting majority in the state parliament. "We will probably have to try to save what can still be saved at the CSU. And force a course correction on them", free-choice leader hubert aiwanger sums it up. "The times of autocracy are over in bavaria, and that’s a good thing", emphasizes FDP top candidate martin hagen.

And yet a rough coalition? The SPD prefers not to dwell on this at the gillamoos; the memories of the federal elections, which forced the SPD back into a rough coalition, are probably still too deep-seated. Party leader andrea nahles, like top candidate natascha kohnen, knows that the SPD’s very existence is at stake. Bavaria’s SPD is heading for a new all-time low of around 13 percent in opinion polls. The two speakers therefore prefer to join the ranks of the afd critics.

The greens cannot be accused of a lack of self-confidence thanks to their current 17 percent in surveys. But former party leader cem ozdemir has a different message: "the opponents are not in other democratic parties." the opposition is to be found further to the right, among right-wing extremists and the right-wing populists of the afd. But it doesn’t work without a dig at soder: "he sees himself as a bit of a sun king. Markus soder, the sun of frankens. Or markus soder, the damming of the CSU."