The success of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in last week’s German election has motivated two lawyers to renew their legal challenge against a peculiarity in Germany’s political landscape – the fact that Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU)does not field candidates in Bavaria to make room for their more right-wing regional sister party,the Christian Social Union (CSU). Nuremberg-based Rainer and Christine Roth are convinced that German citizens living in Bavaria have their constitutional right to a free vote violated by being blocked from voting for the CDU. Equally, people in other states can’t vote for the CSU, even though the two parties have separate election manifestos and enter coalition negotiations hoping to gain different political demands. In a statement released on Monday, the lawyers blamed the AfD’s success in the German election on this “sister-party” agreement between the CDU and the CSU, which goes back to the birth of the two parties before post-war Germany’s first election in 1949. “If it weren’t for this common parliamentary grouping between the CDU and the CSU, a CDU voter wouldn’t have to adopt the cuckoo child of the CSU, and vice versa,” they said.
“The rhetoric of the ‘sister party’ is free of content and without political meaning. And legally meaningless,” the campaign’s website added. “The toleration of the behavior of the CDU and CSU by the electoral authorities represents a state breach of the voting rights of 61.5 million German citizens eligible to vote.”
The lawyers also think that the CSU’s more right-wing position, particularly on refugees, would have damaged the AfD’s vote if the CSU had been an option across Germany. They also estimate that if the CDU had been electable in Bavaria, it could have taken “10 to 20 percent” of the vote in the state.