One-third of Bavarians want independence from Germany – poll

Almost one third of the respondents in Bavaria, one of the country’s 16 federal states, say they want independence from Germany, according to a new poll published on Sunday (16 July). Thirty-two per cent of Bavarians agreed with the statement that their “state should be independent from Germany,” a survey conducted by the YouGov market research company for the popular German daily Bild revealed.

The Free State of Bavaria (the state’s official title) appears to have the strongest separatist sentiment among all German states, the poll says. It is followed jointly by the eastern state of Thuringia and the small western state of Saarland located on the French border, where 22 per cent of respondents support independence.

One in five Germans in the regions of Saxony, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and Saxony-Anhalt also support the idea of their states becoming independent from Berlin, according to the survey.

More than 2,000 people from all German states took part in the poll that was conducted between 29 June and 5 July 2017.

The percentage of Bavarians who favour independence is rising, the Deutschlandfunk broadcaster reported, adding, that according to a 2011 poll, only about a quarter of Bavarians supported that secessionist aspiration. In a 2016 poll, up to 40 per cent of Bavarians also supported the idea of securing “more freedom” from the federal authorities.

Wealthy Bavaria, Germany’s largest state by land area and its second-most populous with more than 12.8 million residents, pays about 16 billion euros per year to the federal government and other German States.

However, any German state’s desire for independence is likely futile as the German constitution does not make provision for the right to secession. In December 2016, the German Constitutional Court rejected a man’s bid to hold a Brexit-style independence referendum in any German state, saying: “There is no place for the secessionist aspirations of certain states under the constitution.” Any such move would “violate the constitutional order,” the court added.

Kwame Appiah

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