The Free State

Politics in Bavaria

The Bavarian State Parliament

The Bavarian State Parliament resides in the Maxmilianeum, a building rich in tradition built on the banks of River Isar by King Maximilian II in the 19th century. The 180 members of parliament are elected for a period of five years by the Bavarian population. In the last parliamentary election in 2013, the CSU won 101 seats (2008: 92), the SPD 42 (2008: 39), the "Freien Wähler" 19 (2008: 21) and the Greens 18 (2008: 19). The State Parliament has two primary duties: it elects and supervises the State Government and it debates and passes laws. In addition to laws passed by parliament, there is also a direct form of democracy, in the shape of laws passed directly by the citizens of Bavaria by means of petitions for referendums and plebiscites.

The Bavarian State Government

The Bavarian State Government consists of the Prime Minister, 11 Ministers and 6 Secretaries of State. The Prime Minister is elected for a period of five years by the State Parliament. With the approval of the State Parliament he appoints the members of the State Government. The State Government comprises ministries for home affairs, justice, education and the arts, science, finance, economic affairs, agriculture, employment, social affairs, the environment, and health. The Prime Minster heads the State Government and represents Bavaria at home and abroad. His seat is the State Chancellery overlooking the Hofgarten in Munich, where the cabinet meetings also take place. The building combines contemporary steel and glass architecture with the impressive domed construction of the former Army Museum of 1905 and in this way successfully combines the traditional and the modern - just like Bavaria itself.

The Free State and the Local Authorities

In Bavaria politics is not concentrated purely on the capital. Of course important political institutions such as the Bavarian State Parliament, the State Government and the Bavarian Constitutional Court have their seats in Munich, but political processes also take place in the seven regions in Bavaria, in the 71 administrative districts and the 25 towns and cities forming their own districts, and in the 2,031 local authorities. The independence of local authorities ranks very high in Bavaria. Elected representatives are active in all the various councils, from the city councils down to the local councils, deciding about matters of importance in their district, such as schools and day-care centres or planning and building laws and regulations. This strengthens their autonomy and ensures that proper decisions are taken locally and with the interests of the inhabitants at heart.

The Prime Ministers of Bavaria

Fritz Schäffer 1945
Dr. Wilhelm Hoegner 1945-46 and 1954-57
Dr. Hans Ehard 1946-54 and 1960-62
Dr. Hanns Seidel 1957-60
Dr. h.c. Alfons Goppel 1962-78
Dr. h.c. Franz Josef Strauss 1978-1988
Dr. h.c. Max Streibl 1988-93
Dr. Edmund Stoiber 1993-2007
Dr. Günther Beckstein 2007-2008
Horst Seehofer since 2008