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Cablegate: German Elections: Bavaria Wins Big Influence In

VZCZCXRO0861
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHMZ #0273/01 3100821
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 060821Z NOV 09
FM AMCONSUL MUNICH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4952
INFO RUCNMEU/EU INTEREST COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 0314
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MUNICH 000273

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/CE, DEPT ALSO FOR EUR/ERA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/04/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL EUN GM
SUBJECT: GERMAN ELECTIONS: BAVARIA WINS BIG INFLUENCE IN
THE NEW GERMAN GOVERNMENT

REF: BERLIN 1340

Classified By: CONSUL GENERAL CONRAD TRIBBLE FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D
)

SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) The Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria has
celebrated the outcome of the federal coalition negotiations,
which awarded the party with three ministries and several
state secretary positions. The outcome appears to have
reinvigorated Horst Seehofer, Bavarian Minister President and
head of the CSU, recovering from a bout with the flu and
worse-than-expected results in the September 27 national
elections. Singling out newly sworn-in Defense Minister zu
Guttenberg for praise, Seehofer expects him to compete
successfully for world attention with new Foreign Minister
and FDP chairman Westerwelle. Seehofer has signaled that he
expects to be working with the FDP for a long time. End
Summary.

CSU Thrilled with Coalition Negotiations Results
--------------------------------------------- ---

2. (SBU) "We could not be more satisfied with the outcome,"
Michael Hohenberger, a senior State Chancery contact told us
October 28, adding that "even with a better election result
the CSU could hardly have emerged stronger in the new
cabinet." Although some Bavarian observers have deplored the
fact that the CSU lost ministerial posts in financial and
economic affairs at the Federal level, all agree that having
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg as Defense Minister is a very
positive development. A CSU party senior advisor, Christian
Kattner, told us privately on the same day that he could
"understand Chancellor Merkel's point in giving the Finance
Ministry at this difficult time to an experienced man like
(former Interior Minister) Wolfgang Schaeuble (Christian
Democratic Union ) CDU) rather than to a young man at the
beginning of his political career."
3. (C) Kattner insisted that the CSU had left its mark with
regard to substance. M-P Seehofer had promised tax cuts,
which are now in the works, and aid measures for farmers, for
which he obtained an agreement on public aid amounting to 700
million Euros. The CDU/CSU stood united in rejecting FDP
demands they considered too business friendly at the expense
of social justice concerns, he said. Bavarian Justice
Minister Merk, who at the beginning of the coalition
negotiations expressed concerns about FDP "weaknesses" on
internal security and counterterrorism, told the CG October
27 that "she was very comfortable with the results."
Strong CSU Bavarian Line-Up in Berlin
-------------------------------------

4. (SBU) As for the Cabinet, in addition to zu Guttenberg at
Defense, there is Peter Ramsauer heading the Transportation
Ministry, where he will have national influence and a huge
budget. Ilse Aigner (CSU) remains Minister of Agriculture.
Five of the the parliamentarian State Secretaries are
Bavarian, four from the CSU r and one from the FDP. This
gives the CSU and Bavaria generally important influence at
the sub-Cabinet level and sets up influential and direct
Bavarian connections between the Bundestag and Cabinet. In
the Defense Ministry, well-respected Christian Schmidt
retained his position, as did Gerd Mueller in Agriculture.
Hartmut Koschyk moves to the Finance Ministry, providing the
CSU with important direct influence with Minister Schaeuble.
The 35-year old Andreas Scheuer from Passau will assist Peter
Ramsauer at the Transportation Ministry. The fifth Bavarian
is Max Stadler (FDP), who will support Sabine
Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) at the Justice Ministry. A
well-respected lawyer from Passau, Stadler is an excellent
choice and a real legal expert with American experience as a
1993 International Visitor Program alumnus.
Seehofer Expects Long-Term Cooperation with FDP
--------------------------------------------- --

5. (SBU) At the CSU party convention on October 26, where
the coalition agreement was approved, MP Seehofer made clear
that the CSU,s main rival will now be the FDP, "which no
longer is a small party but clearly intends to become a
people,s party," he said, predicting "they will be targeting
the same voters as the CSU." The CSU, he added, will have to
act as the guardian of the little people "to ensure that

MUNICH 00000273 002 OF 002


social justice prevails." Later, upon signing the coalition
agreement in Berlin, Seehofer indicated that he intends to
remain in the CSU leadership. Noting that this was the
second time he had signed an agreement with the FDP,
following the agreement in Bavaria one year earlier, he said
he might be able to do the same again for the third and
fourth time in 2013. The media jumped on this statement
since it insinuated that Seehofer had given up hope of the
CSU regaining its absolute majority in the 2013 Bavarian
state elections. "This statement might come back to haunt
him," one journalist commented.

Comment
-------

6. (C) Bavarian leaders are strong at home and in Berlin.
Contrary to media speculation, Horst Seehofer remains
uncontested as CSU chairman and Bavarian Minister-President.
Our contacts in the party, State Chancery and CSU caucus
unanimously rejected speculation about an imminent revolt
against his leadership, although several acknowledge there
will be discussions of a possible change in 2011 in
preparation for the next Bavarian election in 2013. In the
capital, Defense Minister zu Guttenberg will be a serious
competitor to Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on the
diplomatic parquet. In foreign and security affairs, zu
Guttenberg is better connected in Washington, fluent in
English, and more experienced in the key issues. Moreover,
his good relations with the USG, which started in Bavaria,
extend beyond the Department of State to the Department of
Defense and Congress, notably through the vehicle of the
annual Munich Security Conference (next iteration February
5-7, 2010), where he is a regular and prominent organizer and
participant.
TRIBBLE

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