The state elections began in Bavaria on Sunday morning. Polling stations across the country opened at 8 a.m. Around 9.4 million people are called upon by 6 p.m. to elect a new state parliament for the next five years. This includes around 554,000 Bavarians who are allowed to cast their vote for the first time.

Everyone has two votes, first vote and second vote. To determine the distribution of seats in the state parliament – unlike in a federal election – all first and second votes are added together and converted into mandates. The number of these “total votes” ultimately decides which party will have how many MPs in the future.

Prime Minister Markus Söder’s CSU was unchallenged in the lead in all surveys until recently, but at 36 to 37 percent it did not get beyond its historically poor election result from 2018 (37.2 percent). After the leaflet affair involving their boss Hubert Aiwanger, the Free Voters initially saw a significant increase, up to 17 percent. Most recently, the survey values ​​settled at around 15 percent. In 2018 they got 11.6 percent.

Who will take second place?

Söder and Aiwanger have always stated that they want to continue their coalition, which has existed since 2018, even after the election. Unlike five years ago, Söder has ruled out an alliance with the Greens.

It’s not just how well the CSU and Free Voters perform in the end that’s eagerly awaited. But also who comes second behind the CSU, the Greens, the Free Voters or perhaps the AfD. The SPD had recently failed to get above 9 percent in surveys. The FDP must therefore tremble as to whether it will reach the five percent mark.

A total of 91 direct and 89 list mandates are up for grabs in the state elections. However, Parliament can ultimately have more than 180 members, through so-called overhang and compensatory mandates.

Voting also on district councils

This year there are 1,811 candidates, 112 fewer than five years ago. The proportion of women is a good 34 percent. After the 2018 election, the state parliament had six parliamentary groups – and a total of 205 members due to 10 overhang and 15 compensatory mandates.

In addition, Bavarians can vote on the district councils in the seven administrative districts on Sunday. While the preliminary final result of the state elections should be known late in the evening or at night, the results of the district elections will not be determined until later.