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Political earthquake in Bavaria

Candidates Katharina Schulze (l) and Ludwig Hartmann (r), joined by German Green party leader Robert Habeck, wave at a jubilant crowd at the final Green party rally. Photograph: Christine Madden

THE dust is far from settling over Sunday’s parliamentary election in Bavaria. The CSU, a behemoth of Bavarian – and a frequent irritation in Federal German – politics, lost the absolute majority they’ve more or less held for decades. They are now forced to enter into a coalition to build a new Bavarian government. Possible partners include the Green party – the big winners of this election, doubling their result from five years ago to achieve 17.5%. But a Bavarian populist party, the Free Voters (Freie Wähler), might be a better ideological fit. The SPD are also an option, but given the miserable effect of their grand coalition (Große Koalition, or GroKo) with the Federal German government, they’d probably rather keep their distance. And nobody wants to get into bed with far-right party AfD.

It’s all up for grabs as the CSU conduct exploratory talks with potential coalition partners. Interesting times.

My report on location in Munich: text and – for the first time – VIDEO.

Video: How the Green party is shaking up Bavarian elections in The Local

Bavaria: the word on the street in The Local

‘Guantanamo Bayern’

At the #noPAG demonstration on 10 May 2018. Photograph: Christine Madden

Bavaria’s new Polizeiaufgabengesetz (policing regulations act) has been called unconstitutional, the most Draconian since the Nazi era. On 10 May, tens of thousands of demonstrators thronged into Munich’s city centre to protest

Storms were forecast, but the sun still shone on Munich’s Marienplatz on Thursday, 10 May. At 12.30 pm, the square fills up – nothing particularly unusual for a holiday (Ascension Day, a bank holiday in Bavaria), when tourists routinely assemble to watch the Glockenspiel in the tower.

But more and more people crowded into the square, bearing signs, posters, banners, even clothing emblazoned with slogans. When the #noPAG demonstration – a protest organised against the new Polizeiaufgabengesetz, or Policing Regulations Act – was about to start, 15,000 people had already crushed in. “Wow! There’s a LOT of you!” announced one of the organisers over the Tannoy. The announcement was met with a roar of delight. There were too many people to make opening remarks, the voice gleefully continued. They would keep their speeches until after the march.

“Like old times,” says Munich resident Helga Kamy.

View the full article here

View of the crowd at the #noPAG demonstration on Marienplatz. Photograph: Christine Madden

One of the many signs carried at the #noPAG demonstration in Munich on 10 June. Photograph: Christine Madden



A sweet deal for pensioners

An innovative Munich start-up employs pensioners to bake old-fashioned, traditional cakes. It offers them the opportunity to earn money, feel useful and meet people – and their customers, to enjoy cakes baked with love

Oma Rosemarie (Rottmann), with Opa Günter (Haun), at work at Kuchentratsch. Photograph: Christine Madden

The sweet, warm fragrance envelopes you as soon as you walk through the door. Hidden in a courtyard from the busy street, the Kuchentratsch cake shop entices you in. Just beyond the counter, the doorway to the expansive kitchen stands open, affording a view to the bakers hard at work. Despite the size and industrial fittings of the bakery, you could imagine you’ve called in at your granny’s. The bakers here are all over 65.

Brought into being as a start-up by Katharina Mayer – who, in her 20s, is far from pension age – Kuchentratsch (translation: cake chat/gossip) is not simply a bakery. It’s also a social enterprise and thriving experiment. As an answer to the question “What kind of society would I like to live in when I’m old?”, the company was established to give pensioners the opportunity for suitable employment that also puts much-needed extra funds in their coffers.

“I started by asking myself, ‘Where can you get a really good piece of cake?’ But I always got the best cake at my own granny’s,” says Mayer.

Read more here

Published by The Local Germany, 9 March 2018


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