Racism in Austria

As expected, the far right — Heinz-Christian Strache’s Freedom Party (FPOe) (above, left) and Joerg Haider’s Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZOe) (above, right) — has done very well in the national election in Austria (birthplace of Mister Hitler).

The two major parties — the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and Christian Democrats (ÖVP) — have jointly ruled Austria since the end of WWII. In addition to cultivating xenophobic and nationalist sentiment, the far right has been able to capitalise upon the increasing convergence of the two — who will likely form another ‘Grand Coalition’ to rule Austria until the next election — as well as more general discontent with government corruption and ineptitude. According to AFP, “In a last-minute bid to demonstrate their decision-making abilities, the various parties approved on Wednesday a package of laws — expected to cost some three billion euros (4.38 billion dollars) — raising family aid and pensions and abolishing university tuition fees.” The results should give ♥ to activists of the far right across Europe, and follows similar developments in the neighbouring states of Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

“Ausländer Raus!”

Austria swings to the right in snap elections

VIENNA (AFP) — Austria’s two ruling parties, the Social Democrats and conservatives, received a severe drubbing in a snap general election here Sunday, which was marked by a resurgence of the far-right.

As of 7:00 pm (1700 GMT), two hours after the polls closed, the interior ministry calculated that the Social Democrat SPOe managed to hold on to first place, garnering 29.9 percent of votes.

But the reading represented a drop of 5.4 percentage points from the previous election in October 2006 and was the SPOe’s lowest score since the end of World War II.

The conservative OeVP’s losses were even more dramatic, plummeting 8.3 percentage points to 26.0 percent.

Both parties lost votes to the far-right FPOe and BZOe parties, with the Freedom Party (FPOe) under Heinz-Christian Strache seeing its vote-share surge by 7.1 percent to 18.1 percent while Joerg Haider’s Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZOe) saw its score more than double to 9.8 percent.

The Greens slipped slightly to 9.9 percent.

The estimate was made on the basis of 81.4 percent of votes cast.

Turnout at 78.5 percent was the same as in the last election in October 2006. Some 6.1 million Austrians were entitled to vote.

Of the 183 parliamentary seats, the Social Democrats would hold 59, the conservatives 51, the Strache’s Freedom Party 35 and both Haider’s BZOe and the Greens would hold 19 seats apiece, the ministry calculated.

Observers said the clear swing to the right stemmed from voter dissatisfaction with the constant bickering and political in-fighting that characterised the outgoing “grand” coalition.

Under Social Democrat Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, the two parties seemed incapable of passing legislation on even the simplest projects.

By contrast, the last week of campaigning was marked by a marathon parliament session last Wednesday, in which parties mixed and matched in various unconventional alliances to approve a flurry of new legislation on anti-inflationary measures, family aid, pensions and the abolition of university tuition fees.

Forming a new government could prove extremely difficult.

A repetition of the left-right coalition of Social Democrats and conservatives seems the most likely solution, but both sides will have to ensure that political paralysis is not allowed to return…

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2015 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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4 Responses to Racism in Austria

  1. Stefan says:

    I don’t think, that you really understand what happened in Austria.

    The people were sick of the “Grand Coaliton”, because they argued about pretty much everything. -> No work, only fighting!

    A lot of the “far right voters” are only “protest voters” and not by definition “far right”.

    … by the way …

    Your video is from the German comedy show “Was guckst du?” … ;-)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaya_Yanar

  2. @ndy says:

    I think you may be correct Stefan, but I’m also mindful of the fact that, if voters wished to expression their dissatisfaction with the Grand Coalition, they could also have voted for the left… (for example, die Grünen).

  3. Gerhard says:

    I am in no way saying that voting for the right parties (FPÖ, BZÖ) in Austria is anything less than stupid, but these sweeping generalizations of people with no insight at all into the political situation in Austria are really grating. Voting for the left [especially die Grünen (the green party)] is not a choice for most Austrian voters, because their record of incompetence is even worse than that of the Grand Coalition. The situation in Austria at the moment is that you cannot vote for ANY party in good conscience – the system is totally at it’s end. The government has been completely inactive and arguing between itself for years now. Years. It is not functioning. But still the country goes the same way as always like on train tracks. The Austrian government is useless and basically not needed at all, and people are getting wise to that. At least those above a certain level of political understanding. They either don’t vote or vote just for anybody who has a shot at winning (ruling out the greens), just so the ruling parties go away. Those below that level of understanding, are easy prey for the loudest populists, baiting them with oversimplified problem solutions (Ausländer raus!) and free beer and handshakes.

    That the result of the last election will AGAIN lead to a grand coalition is just the next drop of spit in the face of the people by the parties and the next step in ensuring complete distrust of democracy in Austria.

  4. Peter Weiss says:

    I live in Austria since 11 years and know the situation very good indeed. A fascist ideology (historically rooted in this country) conducted and controlled by right winged politicians, city councillors, media managers, bankers and co. goes hand in hand with neoliberal capitalist opportunism which creates a discriminatory society. This social pattern of being “white, heterosexual and catholic” is implemented in a very aggressive and bureaucratic way by Viennese institutions. This racist and nationalist discrimination is an enormous tumour that paralyzes Austrian society. Austrian infrastructure is ruled by imperialistic, absolutistic and faschist laws from the past. The major problem is that Austrians don’t have something like a tradition in matters of REVOLUTIONS. Austrian history proves that almost throughout its existence it always had an anti-humanist, anti-liberal and anti-democratic form. The leftovers of both absolutist and faschist history is a MONSTER, that feeds its energy from a modern form of slavery, where Austrian and Viennese society is governed by a pluralist parallel society. A society divided into different categories or patterns structured by NATIONALITY, GENDER, RACE, OCCUPATION, FINANCIAL SITUATION and RELIGIOUS BELIEF. As for the so called “common sense”, which is the last solution in case of WAR or CONFLICT, it simply does not exist. It is almost like a criminal act itself to write, say something or even talk about this TUMOUR OF AUSTRIAN SOCIETY called RACISM in a public discourse. The only alternative left … to leave this country!!!

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