Bavarian leaders seek to rally conservatives ahead of vote

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BERLIN (AP) — Leaders of the conservative party that governs Germany’s Bavaria state are urging members to close ranks ahead of elections in which the Christian Social Union is projected to suffer heavy losses.

Horst Seehofer, who heads the center-right party, said at a party convention in Munich on Saturday that “in the next four weeks we need confidence not fear, unity not bickering, commitment not complacency.”

Recent opinion polls predict the CSU will win just 35 percent of the vote on Oct. 14. In 2013, the party received almost 48 percent of votes. The rise of the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany party and a series of gaffes by Seehofer have sapped its support.

CSU has largely governed Bavaria alone for over 60 years and is a partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Union bloc. Seehofer is interior minister in Merkel’s government.

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