As Bavaria gears up for the October 14 election showdown, voters are caught between tradition and change. For some the vote is a referendum on Angela Merkel‘s government, but for others it’s a chance to protest Bavaria’s Christian Social Union (CSU).

“The AfD is God’s punishment for the CSU,” said Katrin Ebner-Steiner, the AfD candidate for Deggendorf.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, the CSU (Merkel’s allies in Bavaria) are fighting to keep conservative voters from switching to the far-right populists, who have found a stronghold of support in Deggendorf.

In last year’s federal elections, the far-right AfD won 18% of the town’s support.

Unlike other AfD campaign events, there are no protesters outside the tavern — a fact cheerfully pointed out by the night’s main speaker, Alice Weidel, the AfD’s parliamentary party leader.

“The impact of the Bavarian state election is immense,” said Weidel. “The harsher the lesson for the CSU and the stronger the presence of the AfD in Bavaria’s state parliament, the faster the chancellorship of Angela Merkel will come to an end.”

Meanwhile, speaking with DW, Harald Fischer says he used to support the CSU but was deeply disappointed with the German government’s response under Merkel to the mass arrival of refugees and asylum-seekers in 2015. He believes the CSU is also to blame.

“They’re part of the problem, not the solution. And they’ll have to face the consequences” he was quoted as saying.