The 'sister' party of Merkel's CDU Party.....is the CSU, who only operate in Bavaria. It's a handshake deal. Typically, in a national election....the CSU can deliver around 3.5 million votes (8-percent of the national vote).
For the past nine years....Horst Seehofer has run the regional party. He's 67 years old and last year....he hinted very strongly that he'd be retiring in the summer of 2018. The schedule talked about last year was that a Bavarian state election would happen in September of 2018, and new leadership would stand up and carry the party forward.
Yesterday, Seehofer said...well....things changed. He won't stand down, and he'll be the primary carrier of the CSU election in Bavaria in 2018.
Reason? Some people believe that Seehofer sees this comeback of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg occurring. After the scandal of the thesis episode, Guttenberg has lived outside of Germany for around seven years. There's been an invented way for Guttenberg to participate in this national election (Sep 2017)....with a couple of districts carved out where he will speak...shake hands...and talk up the future of conservative politics in Germany.
The belief is that Seehofer wants to see the CSU leadership role come to Guttenberg after this 2018 Bavaria election.
Oddly, this insider plan has one problem. For several years....the Bavarian finance minister....Markus Soder, has been sitting there and planning his moment where he'd become the next head of the CSU. For him, this Seehofer deal is a bit frustrating. For him to accept this, it means putting off his chief goal.
Guttenberg? He says mostly nothing. My guess is that Seehofer would announce some retirement in early 2019, and the party would quietly appoint Guttenberg into the leadership of the party. Nationally, Guttenberg might be the come-back-kid in 2021.
I know....a lot of speculation, and people preparing 'chess-like' moves way ahead of time.
The news media reaction? No one sees Guttenberg coming back, so this topic of conversation doesn't go far. Typically, no German politician after a big scandal has ever come back.
So, if you were looking for an odd political story, this is it.