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POLITICS

Bavarian election: Embattled CSU and SPD in last minute push to win back voters

As the state election campaign in Bavaria draws to a close, the embattled CSU and SPD are launching major rallies on Friday in a last desperate push to draw in voters.

Bavarian election: Embattled CSU and SPD in last minute push to win back voters
Bavaria will go to the polls on Sunday. Will the polls be correct? Photo: DPA

Both parties are in extremely difficult positions ahead of the election on Sunday. According to polls, both the Christian Socialists and the Social Democrats can expect heavy losses.

The ZDF ‘Politbarometer’, which was released late on Thursday, showed the CSU are currently at 34 percent, which is one percentage point less than the previous week. The Greens remain the second strongest force with 19 percent – a plus of one percentage point. The SPD lag behind with 12 percent.

Interestingly, the Free Voters' Party (Die Freien Wähler or FW), a conservative party which governs at a local level and is led by Hubert Aiwanger, have 10 percent. The AfD also scored 10 percent.

According to the ‘Politbarometer’, the Free Democrats (FDP)  managed 5.5 percent, while the Left Party (Die Linke) is at 4 percent (minus 0.5 points since the previous poll). Both parties will struggle to enter the state parliament if the polls are correct.

SEE ALSO: What you need to know about the upcoming Bavarian election

A total of 1075 voters were randomly selected in Bavaria for the most recent survey. 

In the state elections of 2013, the CSU still had 47.7 percent of the votes, the SPD ended up with 20.6 percent, the Free Voters' Party scooped 9 percent while the Greens only had 8.6 percent. 

Final rallies

In contrast to the Bundestag election a year ago, the CSU will not be supported by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) at its official final rally in Munich happening Friday at 6pm.

Instead, Prime Minister Markus Söder will appear with party leader Horst Seehofer and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP).

At around the same time in Schweinfurt, SPD top candidate Natascha Kohnen and party leader Andrea Nahles will once again speak out against the decline of the Bavarian SPD and hope to inject some positive energy into their campaign.

Other parties are also staging election campaign events on Friday. For the Greens, who are currently riding on a wave of euphoria thanks to their recent boost, Baden-Württemberg's Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann will be in the Swabian town of Ustersbach in the afternoon, and at 6pm, top candidate Ludwig Hartmann and former party leader Cem Özdemir will be in Munich.

In Nuremberg, high profile Brexit opponent Norman Baker, a member of the UK party the Liberal Democrats, will speak at an event organized by the FDP.

SEE ALSO: After beer and dirndl campaign, Bavarian politics is facing a shake-up

The CSU, which has so far been the sole governing party in Bavaria, has been polling between 33 and 35 percent in recent polls so it's likely that the party will not score a majority and will have to search for a coalition partner.

The most stable alliance would be one with the Greens, but commentators say the parties might be too different for that formation – and other partnerships are also possible.

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POLITICS

All cell phone users in Germany to be part of disaster ‘warning day’

On Thursday, Germany will be testing emergency preparedness in its second annual 'Warntag' - and for the first time including all cell phone holders.

All cell phone users in Germany to be part of disaster 'warning day'

Floods are sweeping through a region, a widespread power outage has occurred or a cyber attack hits large swathes of the country – these are some of the reasons why Germany might need to use its disaster warning systems in the future.

On Thursday at 11 am, both federal and state governments will be testing these system for 45 minutes in order to be better prepared in case of a catastrophe.

For the first time, the Bundesrepublik will be sending out a warning to all cell phone users using a “cell broadcast”, which will they receive without having to be signed onto a particular app or part of a specific provider.

Why should Germany have a warning day at all?

The importance of alarm systems was highlighted by the flood disaster in the western states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia in July 2021, when people were not informed in time of the impending danger. Afterwards, a broad debate arose on how this could be improved.

Furthermore, amid an energy crisis and war within Europe, many people are also hyper-vigilant about what Germany would do in the event of a wide-reaching emergency.

Germany’s first Warn Day took place on September 8th, 2020, but many complained that it was not effective nor wide-reaching enough.

READ ALSO: What to do in Germany if there’s a power outage

What does the warning day test exactly?

A warning day is used to test the warning systems available for emergencies and disasters and to put technical procedures to the test. It is also an exercise to raise people’s awareness and familiarise them with what happens when the authorities sound an alarm.

A screen showing a warning system is seen on a display at the Federal Office for Civil Protection. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Oliver Berg

How exactly does the second nationwide warning day work?

A disaster scenario will be practised throughout Germany, meaning it will be extremely loud from 11 am onward. Existing or newly installed sirens will sound, and loudspeaker trucks will drive through the streets of some communities. 

Announcements will also be broadcast on trains, radio and television. The warnings will furthermore be played on media sites on the Internet. They will appear on digital display boards, for example in city centres or at train stations.

The message will also be disseminated via warning apps. In addition, a test warning of the highest level will be sent to cell phones nationwide via “cell broadcast”.

How does the test warning via a cell broadcast work?

The system goes out through the mobile network, using very little data and reaching cell phone users even when the system is otherwise overloaded. 

In cooperation with the mobile network providers, the authorities send a message with the respective warning to the cell phone that is logged into a mobile network cell and can receive network broadcast messages – similar to an SMS.

The information appears as a pop-up on the display and triggers an alert. This is the case even if the cell phone is set to silent.

The content of the message is deliberately kept short since as many people as possible should get the info via cell broadcast that there is no actual danger on the warning day. 

Of course, this is different than in a real emergency.

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