FOCUS online report: “Really shitty, but…” – that’s how the beer tent thinks about the Aiwanger scandal
The leaflet affair surrounding Hubert Aiwanger hangs like a sword of Damocles over Prime Minister Markus Söder’s election campaign. During an appearance in Landshut, guests call the allegations “exaggerated”, some suspect a campaign. Worry about a green swing hovers over everything.
On the day before the tricky special session of the Bavarian coalition committee, Prime Minister Markus Söder is combative in Landshut. The CSU leader talked for almost an hour on Monday evening in the “Schmidt tent” on the Grieserwiese in front of benches that weren’t quite full during an election campaign: shots fired at the traffic light coalition, Habeck’s heating law, “uncontrolled immigration” and cannabis legalization.
However, Söder does not say a word about the significance of the affair surrounding Hubert Aiwanger, which is currently throwing his election campaign through its paces. The topic is not discussed on stage, but it is discussed in the audience.
“The allegations smack that Aiwanger should be deliberately harmed”
“This thing can do a lot of damage to the CSU if it comes out that Aiwanger lied,” says farmer Anton Senger. The Lower Bavarian came to the Grieserwiese with two farmers who are friends of his. He thinks: “Aiwanger must vigorously counter the allegations in the coalition committee meeting on Tuesday and dispel all doubts against him. Otherwise he will lose his ministerial post.”
But Senger also believes it is possible that “the shot can go the other way” if the allegations against Aiwanger prove to be unfounded. The head of the Free Voters was more popular than ever and many had suspicions about the Aiwanger cause: “That these allegations, which originate from high school when Aiwanger was 17 years old, were taken out of the box after 35 years, six weeks before the Bavarian state elections smacks of being targeted for harm.”
“Aiwanger really did shit in his youth”
A man from Landshut named Peter, who doesn’t want to give his full name, thinks: “Aiwanger really did shit when he was young, there’s no doubt about it!” Youthful sin after such a long time.” “I think that’s absolutely exaggerated and overrated,” says the 43-year-old and takes a deep sip of beer from his beer mug.
With regard to the Bayern election, Peter is convinced that Aiwanger will ultimately get even more votes than without this “supposed” scandal. “The affair will not harm him. Aiwanger is a well-established man, open-minded and close to the people. And with that, what the other parties lack,” says the man who “belongs to no party”.
“There are always things that are said that are not really meant.”
A die-hard CSU voter from Landshut, who has been a party member for more than 20 years, makes it clear what is most important to him at the moment: “just no Greens in the state government”.
Despite the seriousness of the allegations against Hubert Aiwanger, it is irrelevant to the Lower Bavarian, who wishes to remain anonymous, whether he himself or his brother Helmut wrote the words on the flyer. He finds: “Even in the CSU, you can tell that here in the beer tent, there is a rustic language. There are always things that are said that are not really meant. And that is, I am sure, also the case with the nasty leaflet.”
“If Söder goes green, the CSU will lose its regular voters”
The concern that the Aiwanger affair could have a negative impact on the CSU election campaign and the entire political landscape in Bavaria can be clearly felt on this rainy Monday in Landshut. Many CSU members hope that Aiwanger will be able to credibly dispel the doubts about his commitment on Tuesday in Munich.
In the beer tent, a man from Landshut says what many of the guests are probably thinking: “Söder has already hit the right pegs, and the CSU is and will remain the best party we have in Germany.”
But: “If Aiwanger falls over the affair and Söder turns green, then the CSU will lose its regular voters”.