Readers who follow European political news know that Austrians went to the polls during the last week of September and shocked the world by giving strong support to an “Islamophobic” political party.
I was in Warsaw that week, so I couldn’t post about the election as it happened, but the Austrians and Germans at the OSCE conference kept me informed: Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of the immigration-critical Austrian Freedom Party (Freiheitlichen Partei Österreichs, FPÖ), had reason to be pleased with his party’s 21.4% of the vote.
JLH has translated an overview of the election results, and includes this introductory note:
Heinz-Christian Strache who, like other Austrian political figures, can be flamboyant, but he has shepherded a bruised and beleaguered party to a position of power in the country.
We shall see whether the good news continues, but I love his shot about “Swiss-style democracy.” As we know from following that country, their direct democracy has been an indispensable tool for the SVP (Swiss People’s Party).
The translated article from blu-News:
Shocker in Austria
September 30, 2013
Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) at 21.4% in national elections.
During the voting, Heinz-Christian Strache was already calling any result over 20% a shocker, and a second place finish a “political earthquake.” The Freedom Partiers achieved 21.4% and third place, setting off a “small earthquake “
According to projections, the 2013 national elections were only closely decided in favor of the SPÖ [Socialist Party] and the ÖVP [Austrian People’s Party]. The two parties experienced significant losses, but retained their cooperative majority mandate.
According to latest projections, the SPÖ reached 27.1%, which — after 2008 (29.26%) — is a new historic low. The ÖVP is ahead of the FPÖ with 23.8%. The Greens achieved 11.5 % and added 1.1%.
The FPÖ — which is always referred to in the German media with the predicate “right populist” — was not able to achieve its target of 30%. FPÖ chief Heinz-Christian Strache called it an “incredibly great step forward.”
While the parties of the coalition, said Strache, are in a “downward spiral,” the FPÖ is in an “upward spiral.” If the SPÖ, against all expectation, should wish to talk coalition, the FPÖ chief set the primary condition as “direct democracy on the Swiss model,” and he warned against the “mistake” of ignoring the winners in the election.
FPÖ’s gains were especially strong in Styria. According to most recent projections, the Blues collected the most votes there. See heute.at. One of the main reasons for that could be the conflict over the amalgamation of communities, which seems to have been massively underestimated by the SPÖ and ÖVP.
Matthias Strolz, founder of the new, liberal Neos, could feel like a winner. With one stroke at 4.8%, the party has passed Austria’s 4% hurdle.
Team Stronach reached 5.8%, and this party will also enter the National Assembly.
Voter participation, including voting cards, was 74% — somewhat lower than 2008.