A specific timetable for the negotiations is therefore not yet known

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A specific timetable for the negotiations is therefore not yet known

After the end of the CSU sole government, Bavaria is heading for the first black and orange government. The Presidium of the Christian Socials voted unanimously on Thursday to start coalition negotiations with the Free Voters. Horst Seehofer’s party thus also rejected the second exploratory partner, the Greens, after their great election success. "I am happy about this clear vote by the CSU Presidium on the formation of a stable government in Bavaria"said Seehofer. The coalition negotiations should start this Friday at 10:00 a.m.

The similarities in content would have tipped the balance in favor of the alliance, in which stability predominates, said Prime Minister Markus Söder. Both parties have the same basic understanding of how Bavaria should be. "That is why we decided for the alliance, for the coalition with the Free Voters." Nonetheless, there are also a number of challenges in the negotiations. By this he is likely to mean, among other things, the demand made by the free voters after the election for up to five ministries.

With its commitment to the Free Voters, the CSU also rejected the Greens. The CSU had sounded out with both parties on Wednesday – and described both talks as constructive. Seehofer and Söder made no secret of their preference for the insignificant free voters outside of Bavaria even before the election.

Their boss Hubert Aiwanger has already made it clear that he does not see any major obstacles for a coalition. He also expects the coalition negotiations to end sooner than required by the constitution. "I am confident that I will finish before the final deadline"said Aiwanger. The state parliament must elect a prime minister on November 12th at the latest. That means that the CSU and Free Voters have to agree on a coalition agreement by then. Söder also emphasized that he wanted to negotiate quickly, but quality came first.

The Greens reacted disappointed to the rejection, they would have liked to continue exploring, said parliamentary group leader Ludwig Hartmann: "The CSU chooses the easy way and thus the political one "Keep it up". I would have liked Markus Söder to have had more courage to take the strenuous but promising path with us Greens." Co-parliamentary group leader Katharina Schulze announced that the Greens would also be the second strongest force in the opposition "a loud voice" will be in the state parliament.

Söder rejected the accusation of lack of courage: "It wasn’t a question of courage, but of common sense." For the Free Voters it was also said that this would be a pure "Bavaria coalition" could be formed with no party in the government that "is controlled from Berlin". This applies in particular to Bavaria’s voting behavior in the Bundesrat, where governments have to abstain if both partners do not support an application.

Ultimately, differences in content on the issues of asylum and internal security would have made coalition negotiations with the Greens impossible, said Söder. Different worldviews collide here. To justify it, however, Söder spanned a larger arc: "The Groko would have been black and green. Groko is not black and red, Groko would have been black and green in Bavaria." But democracy is doing well if coalitions are formed that are not automatically a grand coalition.

Aiwanger hopes that a bourgeois coalition in Bavaria can send an important signal beyond the borders of the Free State. "Despite all the rivalries, we are in the middle class with the most intersections"said Aiwanger. The free voters would not pursue any federal political visions, but would work for Bavaria. The main focuses are the abolition of daycare fees, the prevention of the construction of a third runway at Munich Airport and the preservation of all hospitals in Bavaria.123helpme.me

The CSU fell to just 37.2 percent in the state elections on Sunday and is therefore dependent on a coalition partner in the future. The CSU has 85 out of 205 MPs in the state parliament, the free voters have 27 seats, making 112 together, significantly more than the 103 required for a majority.

A general meeting of the Free Voters is scheduled for October 27th – a party congress, so to speak – at which the contents of a coalition agreement negotiated up to then could be voted on. At the CSU, on the other hand, it is still unclear which party committee would endorse a coalition agreement.

At the start of the coalition negotiations between the CSU and Free Voters, the focus was on the financial framework of the black-orange coalition. According to Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU), both parties were already fundamentally in agreement during the exploration that debt reduction and a balanced budget were the basis of all decisions. "We always have a very clear baseline, which means that stability must be maintained", stressed Söder on Friday at the beginning in the state parliament in Munich.

Subsequent to fundamental questions, including agreements on the further course of the negotiations, it was reportedly also about concrete content in the form of what is probably the most costly demand of the free voters: the introduction of free daycare centers.

During the election campaign, the Free Voters did not further substantiate this demand. It now needs to be clarified, for example, for which age groups this should apply and whether this means all-day free care – or only for a few hours. As early as winter, the Free Voters had spoken out in favor of five hours of free care. Depending on the design, this could cost more than 500 million euros per year – at least that was what the Free Voters had set internally.

The CSU had always rejected free daycare centers. Shortly before the election in September, they introduced a Bavarian family allowance instead, which is paid out to all parents of one- and two-year-old children regardless of the type of care or income. For the first two children there is 250 euros per month, from the third child there is 300 euros per month. The state government expects costs of 800 million euros per year.

The family allowance is legally controversial because it is not clear whether it has to be counted towards social benefits such as Hartz IV. The opposition – including the Free Voters – had criticized the family allowance decided by the CSU as a crude campaign gift.

In the negotiations it will now be a question of how these two costly variants can be coordinated. Representatives from both parties stated that simple addition could not be financed. A compromise could be that the CSU waived one year of family benefits, which would free up around 400 million euros in the budget.

From negotiating circles, however, it was heard that there should be no simple counter calculations, but a coherent overall concept. In this context, the demand of the free voters for a reimbursement of already paid road construction contributions by the beginning of 2014 should also be included. Aiwanger had already estimated the cost of this at around 250 million euros in June. The CSU had in abolishing the "Strabs" but categorically refused a refund on January 1, 2018, also because of possible legal consequences.

Even with the continuation of the negotiations on Monday in the state parliament, the so-called financing reservations will take priority over all substantive debates. Then the CSU’s costly priorities are likely to come on the table. After Söder invested more than one billion euros in new projects in the months leading up to the election, the focus should primarily be on securing financing for the next five years.

Söder also emphasized on Friday morning that the planned coalition should have recognizable priorities in the field of environmental and nature conservation after the election of the Greens. Conclusions will be drawn from the election result as far as the sensitivity to ecology is concerned.

Both sides agreed to a non-disclosure agreement, so the first day of negotiations ended without any official reactions. Whether both sides adhere to it is seen by them as an initial test of confidence. A specific timetable for the negotiations is therefore not yet known. In 2008 the coalition negotiations between the CSU and FDP lasted around two and a half weeks.

For the CSU it is the second time since 2008 that it needs a coalition partner to form a government. In the state elections on Sunday it fell to 37.2 percent and thus lost its absolute majority. The free voters came to 11.6 percent. The CSU had also invited the Greens to the explorations, but then decided to negotiate with the free voters because of differences on the issues of migration and asylum. The Greens will be the second strongest force in the state parliament.

Green party leader Robert Habeck wants to run in the constituency of Flensburg-Schleswig as a direct candidate for the federal election in 2021. "The north here is my home, privately and politically. It all started here"said Habeck "New Osnabrück newspaper" (Monday). "I would like to give something back to my homeland. It would be a great honor to be able to do this in direct responsibility for the constituency. And that’s what I’ll fight for", said the 50-year-old, who had already announced in mid-June that he would be on the Schleswig-Holstein state list.

His direct candidacy has yet to be decided by the Schleswig and Flensburg district associations. Their chairmen signaled their support. "We are really happy that Robert said yes. We cannot imagine a more passionate representative for our interests in Berlin", declared the district chairmen Benita von Brackel-Schmidt, Marlene Langholz-Kaiser from Flensburg and Uta Bergfeld from the Schleswig-Flensburg district in a joint statement that was available to the newspaper.

In 2017, Petra Nicolaisen from the CDU won the constituency directly with 40.0 percent. The candidate of the Greens, Peter Wittenhorst, got 10.5 percent of the vote.

For the 2017 election, Habeck had decided not to run for the Bundestag. In the current Bundestag, the Greens have only one direct mandate, Canan Bayram from Berlin, which they won in the constituency of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. Green veteran Hans-Christian Ströbele had previously won the party’s only direct mandate in Germany in four elections since 2002.

After the first explorations with the CSU, the free voters want to start the coalition negotiations on Friday. "I couldn’t see any red lines that would be insurmountable"said Free Voters chief Hubert Aiwanger. Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) also praised that after the three-hour meeting on Wednesday in the state parliament in Munich "very constructive" Conversation. It was found that there was a "great degree of agreement, but also a lot of discussion". Söder emphasized, however, that only after a conversation with the Greens, which began in the afternoon, would they consider how to proceed.

Talks are still needed, but there are no knockout criteria, said Aiwanger. He therefore thinks it makes sense to start the coalition negotiations quickly. In his opinion, enough had been explored. This is also a signal after the coalition negotiations in Berlin had lasted for months. "I believe that a very high quality government can be formed from this cooperation."

Söder emphasized that he was on a "concentrated and factual work" that is not about constantly presenting intermediate results or balcony pictures. Söder alluded directly to the failed Jamaica negotiations after the 2017 federal election.

At 2 p.m., the CSU and the Greens sat down at a table for the next exploratory round. The content is well prepared, said Green top candidate Ludwig Hartmann on arrival. "Maybe we will bring the best of both worlds together."

After the explorations, the CSU wants to decide with which party it wants to start concrete coalition negotiations. In addition, there should be a telephone switch for the presidium either on Wednesday evening or on Thursday morning.

It is still unclear how long it will take the Greens and Free Voters for their part to speak out for or against coalition negotiations. The Free Voters could vote on the contents negotiated to date at their party congress on October 27th.

For the CSU, in addition to Söder and party leader Horst Seehofer, the previous ministers Ilse Aigner, Joachim Herrmann, Florian Herrmann, Albert Füracker, Melanie Huml, Michaela Kaniber, parliamentary group leader Thomas Kreuzer and general secretary Markus Blume took part. In addition to Aiwanger, MEPs Ulrike Müller, District Administrator Armin Kroder, Vice-President Michael Piazolo and the three MPs Florian Streibl, Thorsten Glauber and Peter Bauer also sat at the table for the Free Voters. The Green delegation was led by the top candidates Katharina Schulze and Ludwig Hartmann. At their side were the regional leaders Sigi Hagl and Eike Hallitzky, the Bundestag members Claudia Roth and Toni Hofreiter, Jens Marco Scherf (District Administrator Miltenberg) and Martina Wild (parliamentary group leader Augsburg).

In the past few days, Söder and Seehofer had repeatedly emphasized that they were much more sympathetic to an alliance with the Free Voters. In the case of the Greens, for example, they see considerable differences in content in the areas of domestic policy and environmental protection. The Free Voters have 27 MPs in the state parliament, the CSU has 85. An alliance needs at least 103 seats for a majority. The Greens have 38 members in the new state parliament.

The only thing that speaks against the free voters is their demand for up to five ministries. For Aiwanger, the abolition of daycare fees and a cancellation of the third runway at Munich Airport are among the most important demands. He also calls for a new way of dealing with the state parliament, and he wants to maintain constructive cooperation with the AfD. "Bavaria should get closer to its citizens", he emphasized at the constituent meeting of the group on Tuesday evening.

It is also unclear whether the SPD would also be ready to meet with the CSU for explorations. The board wants to discuss this on Sunday. This option would only come into play if talks with Free Voters and Greens failed. The CSU only won 37.2 percent in the state elections. The SPD landed at 9.7 percent. The second strongest force was the Greens with 17.5 percent.

After the first exploratory round of the CSU and the Greens on coalition negotiations in Bavaria, important decisions should be made on Thursday.