Ude Facing his First Defeat in Upcoming Election
For 20 years, Christian Ude has been the mayor of Munich. Although the conservative CSU has always had a big majority in surrounding Bavaria, the state capital, Munich, has, for the most part, been controlled by Social Democrats. Only in his first election, in 1993, Ude had any real opposition from his opponent, former minister and now MP of the Bundestag (National Parliament), Peter Gauweiler. In all subsequent elections (1996, 2002 and 2008), Ude achieved an absolute majority.
Due to his age, Ude is not allowed to run again for mayor of Munich in March 2014. Unlike politicians in other countries, who are sometimes forced to leave office due to term limits, the mayor here is a civil servant, and the mandatory retirement age applies to him as it would to any normal government employee.
Therefore, last year the SPD in Bavaria selected Ude to run against Bavaria’s prime minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) in the upcoming election - to try to take power for the first time since the 1950s. The CSU has been ruling with absolute majority, but had to form a coalition with the liberals (FDP) after the 2008 elections, which is very unusual for Germany. Ude was picked as a candidate more than a year before the elections and polled quite well at that time. However, according to the polls a few weeks before elections for the Landtag (State Parliament), it seems clear that Ude will not beat Seehofer.
Ude is still a popular mayor in Munich, but apparently he is unable to transfer his urban popularity to the other regions of Bavaria. He’s been mixing up places in northern regions of Franconia, where people already think Munich receives too much attention.
In current polls, the CSU has a chance to regain its absolute majority even with the FDP under 5% (which is the minimum to win seats in parliaments in Germany). Even if you combined the votes of the three largest opposition parties (SPD, Green Party and Freie Wähler, which is an even more conservative party than the one in power now), they still would not be enough to beat the CSU.