Key Merkel Ally Horst Seehofer Resigns as Leader of Bavarian Christian Social Union

MUNICH, GERMANY - OCTOBER 15: Horst Seehofer, Chairman of the Christian Social Union (CSU), and Markus Soeder (not pictured), Governor of Bavaria and lead candidate of the CSU in yesterday's Bavarian state elections, speak to the media follwoing a meeting of the CSU leadership at party headquarters on October 15, …
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Horst Seehofer, a key ally of the Chancellor, has announced his resignation as leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), following Angela Merkel stepping down as leader of allied party the Christian Democratic Union.

Mr Seehofer, who formerly served as Prime Minister of Bavaria, made his announcement Monday saying that he would resign as leader of the CSU but would continue his role as Federal Interior Minister, Die Welt reports.

The resignation came during a press conference in Bautzen, Saxony, with Seehofer telling journalists, “I will resign from the office of CSU chairman, that is certain and is decided,” but was less clear on whether he would be resigning immediately or in several weeks from now.

“The office of Federal Interior Minister is not affected by this decision in any way. There is nothing to explain at all. I am Federal Minister of the Interior and will remain so. I will continue to serve. Otherwise, I would not be here today,” he added.

When asked the reason for his resignation, the 69-year-old alluded to the recent Bavarian election which saw one of the worst ever results for the CSU but added that the reasons lay in “both in Berlin and in Bavaria.” Another reason given was a plan to revitalise the CSU in 2019 and the election of a new leader is expected early next year.

The resignation comes only weeks after Chancellor Merkel announced she would also be stepping down as leader of the CDU but would remain on as Chancellor until the end of her term in 2021.

Reacting to the resignation, Social Democrat (SPD) Bundestag Vice President Thomas Oppermann called on Seehofer to also resign as Interior Minister saying he should accept “responsibility for his serious political mistakes.”

The call was echoed by SPD politician Ralf Stegner who called  Seehofer a “troublemaker” within the grand coalition of the CDU, CSU, and the SPD.

Seehofer’s harder stance on migrant issues has brought him into constant conflict with both Chancellor Merkel and the SPD since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015.

Most recently, his proposed migrant policies almost brought down the government coalition and led to reports he was planning to resign as Interior Minister, but both Seehofer and Merkel were able to eventually come to an agreement on the issue.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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