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All Buzzing on the Western Front – State-elections in Bavaria and Hesse

On Sunday, October 8, state elections were held in two highly influential federal states in Germany: Bavaria and Hesse. Bavaria is Germany’s biggest state and has a strong political position as well as one of the strongest economies. Hesse also stands out with its economic strength and holds a lot of political influence, especially in the financial area. As a result, the outcomes of these state elections will have a lot of impact on Germany’s political landscape. 

State election in Hesse

The elections on October 8th have yielded interesting results, highlighting the political landscape in the region. The Christian Democrats (CDU) have maintained their position as the dominant force in the state parliament, securing 34,6 % of the votes, with their top candidate, current Prime Minister Boris Rhein, at the helm. Notably, the right-wing party AfD (Alternative for Germany) has emerged as the second-strongest political entity in Hesse, achieving a historic high of 18,4 %, marking their best performance in any western German state.

Conversely, the Social Democrats (SPD) faced a setback, experiencing their poorest-ever electoral outcome in Hesse, garnering only 15.1 percent of the votes, narrowly ahead of the Greens, who received 14.8 percent. The liberal party FDP managed to secure re-entry into Wiesbaden’s state parliament with 5 % support, while the Left Party fell short of the five-percent threshold, earning just 3,1 % of the votes.

In the wake of these results, Hesse’s Prime Minister and CDU’s leading candidate, Boris Rhein, is contemplating potential coalition partners. He has indicated that the CDU will explore cooperation with the Greens, SPD, and FDP. Given their successful past collaboration with the Greens, they will be the first party in line for discussions.

Regarding health, Kai Klose from the Greens is the current Hessian health minister. So far it is not known whether he will continue to hold this position in the future or not. Turning to healthcare policies, the CDU aims to alleviate the strain on emergency rooms. The Green Party shares a similar vision, emphasizing the need to enhance coordination between ambulance services, emergency rooms, and on-call medical services. More details will become clear when the coalition agreement is available.

State election in Bavaria

The Bavarian state election was surrounded by scandals in the run-up to the election involving the party leader of the Free Voters, Hubert Aiwanger. However, this does not seem to have damaged his reputation, as his party was one of the winners on the election night.

The preliminary results of the October 8 election speak for themselves. The Christian Democrats (CSU) were once again able to maintain their position as the strongest force, winning 37 % of the electoral votes. The previously mentioned Free Voters were able to report an increase of 4.2 % despite the scandal surrounding their chairman and became the second strongest force in parliament with 15.8 % of the votes.

Also among the winners of this election was the right-wing populist AfD, which became the third-strongest force in parliament with 14.6 %.

The losers are clearly the parties of the federal government, which suffered record losses. Their results are indicative of Bavarian voters’ dissatisfaction with federal politics and coincide with the trend seen in the elections in Hesse.

Even before the election, the previous coalition partners, the CSU and the Free Voters, announced their intention to form a coalition with each other again. However, the shift in the balance of power could also lead to a redistribution of ministries. The Free Voters have already voiced their interest in the still CSU-led Ministry of Agriculture.

Health Minister Klaus Holetschek was re-elected as a member of the state parliament, but according to rumors will no longer lead the Ministry of Health. He is to become chairman of the CSU parliamentary group in the state parliament. Nevertheless, this development is by no means detrimental to public affairs work in the health sector, as the parliamentary group chairman is responsible for important coordinating tasks in the state parliament. Holetschek’s affinity for health issues means an open ear from the CSU politician, who is known to foster dialogue.

The election of the parliamentary group chairman is to take place in this week.

Bernhard Seidenath, Chairman of the Health Committee in the Bavarian State Parliament, is being traded as Holetschek’s successor in the Ministry of Health and Care. This would fill the vacant position with a familiar face who is already acquainted with the concerns of the healthcare industry.

All further developments will continue to be monitored and shared by RPP.

Nora Klein
Emre Uzuner

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