Christian Social Union in Bavaria

Published 19th September, 2013

The Christian Social Union in Bavaria or CSU was founded in January 1946 by Catholic and Protestant political groups and can trace part of its history back to the pre-war Catholic Bavarian People’s Party. The party describes itself as Centre-right and believes in Christian democracy, Conservatism and Bavarian Regionalism.

The CSU won an outright victory in the first Bavarian Landtag election after the war in December 1946. By 1950 it had started negotiations with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and in the October the two parties agreed to be sister parties with the CSU fighting elections in the Free State of Bavaria and the CDU contesting elections in all the other 15 states in Germany.

In the first federal elections contested by the CSU in 1949 it won 24 seats. This grew to 52 seats in 1953 and 55 seats in 1957. The party has remained the strongest party in Bavaria ever since and has dominated the Landtag since the Second World War.

In the federal parliament the party dropped to 48 seats in 1972 but grew steadily into the early 50s in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1998 the CSU had a bad year along with the CDU and fell to 47 of 669 seats in the Bundestag, it went up to 58 seats in 2002 but then dropped back to 46 and 45 seats in 2005 and 2009 respectively.

In the Landtag elections in mid-September 2013 the CSU was back to an absolute majority with 49% of the vote after a few years of coalition government with the Free Democrats.

As the sister party of the CDU, the CSU has been in government from 1949 to 1969, again from 1983 to 1998 and then once more from 2009.

The Christian Social Union is a member of the International Democrat Union (IDU). It is also a member of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament where it currently holds 8 of the 99 national seats.

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