The anticipation is huge, says the Kelheim CSU district chairman, District Administrator Martin Neumeyer, he himself is looking forward to it “sacrifically”. “Beer tent, the people and politics, that simply belongs together in Bavaria” – uncomplicated, “without a tie” to decide to go into a tent and listen to the speeches.
It’s about the Gillamoos in Abensberg, Lower Bavaria, the annual fair with more than 700 years of tradition, which becomes a state-political stage on the final Monday with a morning pint. And which is now taking place again regularly after a two-year Corona break. “That’s important for the mentality of Bavaria,” says Neumeyer and, as the host of the CSU event, is happy about a special feature: “Two prime ministers at the same time, that’s never been the case.”
Markus Söder and the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) will speak in the Hofbräu tent next Monday. “It will be exciting,” believes Neumeyer, since the two also act for the interests of their federal states. “And because you have the chance to talk differently than in the ZDF summer interview.”
When the local CSU announced the personnel for this high office of political exchange of blows a few weeks ago, a murmur went through the press: Is that an indication of who the CDU would like to have as a future candidate for chancellor? Well, large parts of the CSU would still prefer to see a certain Markus Söder in the role. But anyway, Neumeyer dismisses it: “There’s still a long way to go, in two or three years, so much can change that you can’t predict anything.” But what he could say: the sister party friends on the Rhine and Ruhr have been elated since the invitation to Wüst. It’s not like “half of Düsseldorf or Essen is shouting: ‘Sensation'” – but many in North Rhine-Westphalia considered the performance “something special because they’ve never experienced anything like it”.
Finally a political Gillamoos again. Last year, shortly before the federal elections, the CSU insisted on holding a narrow-gauge variant with a limited number of guests and hygiene rules. Söder again warned against a left slide and a “diluted left soup” in the form of a traffic light and had videos of it sent to the campaigning party. It didn’t do any good, although maybe it did: In the meantime, the CSU was even below 30 percent in polls, which gnawed at its self-confidence – in the end it reached 31.7 percent and won all constituencies except one directly. Shortly before the 2018 state elections or the 2017 federal elections, Gillamoos Monday was always a nationwide spectacle.
Does the concept even work properly without an upcoming election? “The atmosphere is maybe a bit different,” says Neumeyer. But this is not reflected in the interest in media inquiries, for example: high as usual. In any case, the fact that the show for the 2023 state elections has long since begun is not insider knowledge. This year, however, the density of national guests is lower, as the festival programs of the parties represented in the state parliament show. Neumeyer lists: Hendrik Wüst, Secretary General Kevin Kühnert for the SPD. Break. And Anton Hofreiter, the main speaker at the Greens? He thinks it’s more of a borderline case between Bavaria and Berlin – although Hofreiter’s “own opinion” promises to be exciting.
In fact, in political Munich, some people ask the question: Is Hofreiter a federal political guest, when he is firmly established in the Free State and in 2021 as a top candidate in a duo with Claudia Roth had dozens of appearances across the country? Why isn’t one of the Green Federal Ministers, popular according to polls, invited? Or why doesn’t the new party leadership in the federal government use the date for the debut and Ricarda Lang and Omid Nouripour talk?
With the Greens you can hear: So if the chairman of the European Committee in the Bundestag is not a guest from federal politics, “who then?” Hofreiter is “the first choice” because he “has proven often enough that he can beer tent very well”. Nouripour will also be a guest at the party conference in Landshut a few weeks later. Incidentally, the top staff for the 2023 election is to be ordered – the parliamentary group leaders Katharina Schulze and Ludwig Hartmann both speak in Abensberg.
General Secretary Kühnert is expected at the SPD. “He appreciates Bavaria very much and speaks politically plain language,” says country manager Florian von Brunn, who will also speak himself. Kühnert, however, is not a novice on the Gillamoos, he was already there in 2019: but then still as a Juso boss, who had previously caused a sensation with a statement on the collectivization of BMW – which in turn was discussed harshly in the political competition in the other tents. Times are changing and roles are changing, at least now, says Arif Taşdelen, general of the Bavarian SPD: Kühnert is taking on “serious politics, while Minister of Public Festivals Söder and his deputy Aiwanger are probably allowed to argue about partying and cow dung.”
A dig at Hubert Aiwanger’s performance on a cow pasture in the Weilheim-Schongau district recently. The Economics Minister will appear on Monday with parliamentary group leader Florian Streibl. In 2021, the Free Voters came up with an online format to replace Gillamoos in the pandemic. The FDP sends country chief Martin Hagen into the race as the main speaker. The AfD holds its morning pint in the castle garden next to the fairground, including with state chief Stephan Protschka. The AfD is struggling with the fact that there was no tent free when it was founded. But that will change, says Protschka, when his party takes over government responsibility after the state elections. He recently announced this on Twitter – even in the AfD some said that times were too serious for such gross satire.