Christian Social Union of Bavaria

Christian Social Union of Bavaria
Christian Social Union of Bavaria
Christlich-Soziale Union in Bayern
Leader Horst Seehofer
Founded 1945
Headquarters Franz-Josef-Strauß-Haus
Nymphenburger Str. 64
80335 Munich
Ideology Bavarian regionalism
Christian democracy
Soft euroscepticism[2]
Political position Centre-right
International affiliation International Democrat Union
European affiliation European People's Party
European Parliament Group European People's Party
Official colours Blue (campaign colour)
45 / 622
Regional parliaments
92 / 1,859
European Parliament
8 / 99
Politics of Germany
Political parties

The Christian Social Union in Bavaria (About this sound CSUChristlich-Soziale Union in Bayern ) is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It operates only in the state of Bavaria, while its sister party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), operates in the other 15 states of Germany. It has 45 seats in the Bundestag, making it the smallest of the six parties represented.

It was founded as a continuation of the Weimar-era Catholic Bavarian People's Party. At the federal level, it forms a common 'CDU/CSU' faction in the Bundestag with the CDU, which is frequently referred to as the Union faction (die Unionsfraktion). The CSU currently governs at the federal level with the CDU and FDP. In the state of Bavaria, the CSU governs in a coalition with the FDP.

The CSU is a member of the European People's Party (EPP) and its MEPs sit in the EPP Group. At the moment they have three ministers in Berlin, while party leader Horst Seehofer serves as Minister-President of Bavaria: a position that CSU representatives have held since 1957.



Chairman Franz Josef Strauss in 1976

Franz Josef Strauss (1915–1988) had left behind the strongest legacy as a leader of the party, having led the party from 1961 until his death in 1988. His political career in the federal cabinet was unique in that he had served four ministerial posts in the years between 1953 and 1969. From 1978 until his death in 1988 he served as the minister-president of Bavaria. He was the first leader of the CSU to be a candidate for the German chancellery, in 1980. In the 1980 elections he ran against the incumbent Helmut Schmidt of the SPD, but lost thereafter, as the SPD and the FDP managed to secure an absolute majority in a social-liberal coalition.

The CSU has led the Bavarian state government since it came into existence in 1946, save from 1950 to 1953 when the Bavaria Party formed a state government in coalition with the German Branches of the SPD and the FDP. The CSU currently governs with the FDP. Before the 2008 elections in Bavaria, the CSU perennially achieved absolute majorities at the state level. This level of dominance is unique among Germany's 16 states. Edmund Stoiber took over the CSU leadership in 1999. He ran for Federal Chancellor in 2002, but his preferred CDU/CSU and FDP coalition lost against the SPD candidate Gerhard Schröders Red-Green coalition. In 2003, the CSU was re-elected as the Bavarian government with a majority (60.7% and 124 of 180 seats in the state parliament). On 18 January 2007, Stoiber announced his decision to step down from the posts of minister-president and CSU chairman by 30 September of that year.

On 28 September 2008, the CSU failed to gain an absolute majority, attaining 43%, of the vote in the Bavaria state election for the first time since 1966 on a percentage basis and was forced into a coalition with the FDP. Even after the 2009 general election, the CDU/CSU emerged as the largest party in Germany, yet both lost votes predominantly to the FDP. The CSU received only 42.5% of the vote in Bavaria in the 2009 election, which constitutes its weakest showing in the party's history. They have three ministers in Berlin: Hans-Peter Friedrich (Federal Ministry of the Interior), Peter Ramsauer (Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs) and Ilse Aigner (Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection).

Relationship with the CDU

The CSU is the sister party of the Christian Democratic Union. Together, they are called 'The Union'. The CSU operates only within Bavaria, and the CDU operates in all other states, but not Bavaria. While virtually independent,[3] at the federal level, the parties form a common CDU/CSU fraction. No Chancellor has ever come from the CSU, although Franz Josef Strauss was the CDU/CSU candidate for Chancellor in 1980 election, which was won by the SPD. Below the federal level, the parties are entirely independent.[4]

Since its formation, the CSU has been more conservative than the CDU.[1]


Party chairmen

Chairman From To
1st Josef Müller 17 December 1945 28 May 1949
2nd Hans Ehard 28 May 1949 22 January 1955
3rd Hanns Seidel 22 January 1955 16 February 1961
4th Franz Josef Strauss 18 March 1961 3 October 1988
5th Theodor Waigel 16 November 1988 16 January 1999
6th Edmund Stoiber 16 January 1999 29 September 2007
7th Erwin Huber 29 September 2007 25 October 2008
8th Horst Seehofer 25 October 2008 Present day


The CSU has contributed eleven of the twelve Ministers-President of Bavaria since 1945, with only Wilhelm Hoegner (1945–46, 1954–57) of the SPD also holding the office.

Minister-President From To
Fritz Schäffer 28 May 1945 28 September 1945
Hans Ehard (1st time) 21 December 1946 14 December 1954
Hanns Seidel 16 October 1957 22 January 1960
Hans Ehard (2nd time) 26 January 1960 11 December 1962
Alfons Goppel 11 December 1962 6 November 1978
Franz Josef Strauss 6 November 1978 3 October 1988
Max Streibl 19 October 1988 27 May 1993
Edmund Stoiber 28 May 1993 30 September 2007
Günther Beckstein 9 October 2007 27 October 2008
Horst Seehofer 27 October 2008 Present day


See: List of Bavarian Christian Social Union politicians

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Budge, Ian; Robertson, David; Hearl, Derek (1987). Ideology, Strategy, and Party Change: Spatial Analyses of Post-war Election Programmes in 19 Democracies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 296. ISBN 9780521306485. 
  2. ^ Taggart, Paul; Szczerbiak, Aleks. The Party Politics of Euroscepticism in EU Member and Candidate States. SEI Working Paper. 51. Sussex European Institute. p. 11. 
  3. ^ The Economist (1983). Political Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 16. ISBN 9780521277938. 
  4. ^ Solsten, Eric (1999). Germany: A Country Study. Quezon: DANE Publishing. p. 375. ISBN 9780521277938.

External links

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