Merkel allies blast nationalist rivals ahead of state vote

BERLIN (AP) — Bavaria’s governing party is taking aim at upstart nationalist rival Alternative for Germany ahead of elections in the southern German state this fall.

The Christian Social Union has ruled Bavaria alone for most of the post-war period and won an absolute majority of seats in 2013.

The party, which is part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Union bloc, now faces a fresh challenge from the right. Polls predict Alternative for Germany, or AfD, will take a double-digit share of the vote.

Governor Markus Soeder said Saturday that he wants to draw a clear line before the Oct 14 vote between his party and AfD, which he called “un-Bavarian.”

Soeder’s party has taken a harder line on immigration and crime in recent months — two key AfD campaign topics.