Eight chairpersons had the CSU so far – quite different characters and types. An overview.
If the CSU delegates elect their new party leader this Saturday, after just over ten years, Horst Seehofer will end an era: his departure from Bavarian politics. He has already handed over the post of prime minister to Markus Söder, now he also stops as CSU chief.
3739 days, the 69-year-old then stood at the head of the party – only Franz Josef Strauss held this office longer. But this internal boss ranking is more of a footnote in the history books of the party. Rather, the CSU Horst Seehofer will be remembered as the party chairman, who led the party after the historic election defeat in 2008 and the loss of absolute majority again self-confidence and at least in 2013 again close to the 50-percent mark. But also the party leader, who since 2015 in the constant dispute with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) was about the refugee policy – a dispute that has been led increasingly dogged.
Now Markus Söder will take the helm. Seehofer himself has proposed to the party executive in December his permanent rival as successor, the committee has approved. The optional? Pure formality. Söder's credo? He wanted to be measured by election results and maintain a "highly cooperative relationship" with the CDU. What a new boss promises.
With what merit for the party he will ultimately go down in the annals will show. The eight party leaders in front of him have raised the bar very high. An overview: