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Excellent, Almanax, and welcome (as a poster, at least!)

Is anything happening, as you see it, to change the basic spread of the last election? Or do you think it's likely the situation will be hung yet again?

And is the only way out of it that the Social and Christian Democrats take a deep breath and make another great coalition?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 03:21:34 AM EST
The major possibility for a change is the following: the BZOE only just scraped together the 4% necessary to make it into parliament. They got 4.1% in the end, but only due to a very strong showing in Joerg Haider's federal state Kaernten (>20%, around 1-2% in the rest of Austria).  

Right after the election the BZOE's frontman Westenthaler became embroiled in a rather ridiculous and ugly "brawl-affair" - his bodyguard allegedly beat up the press-chief of a former BZOE minister who had quit the party shortly before the election out of disgust about their xenophobe policies.

This might just be enough to push the BZOE out of parliament in the next election, which - if SPOE and Greens manage to repeat their result - would mean that they have enough seats to form a majority coalition.

But it's uncertain. Maybe the BZOE will hold on to their votes, maybe they'll get a direct mandate from Kaernten next time (despite their very strong showing, they missed it this time but only by very little). Greens and SPOE might gain slightly from the 2% or so voters who supported the party of Euro MP Hans-Peter Martin (named after him) in the last election, because that party vowed not to run again after missing parliament due to the 4% barrier. But it is questionable whether Greens and SPOE could gain enough to form a coalition if the BZOE does not drop out (if the BZOE remains in parliament, Greens and SPOE need more than an additional 2%).

So it's risky for the SPOE, for it might well lose its very slight lead to the OEVP again. Schuessel could then lay claim to holding onto the Chancellorship and thus have more incentive to form a great coalition from a stronger position.

Hopefully, the FPOE would not gain more than they already have, although they display a very cocky attitude at the moment and might pick up votes from a disintegrating BZOE and perhaps even some dissatisfied voters from the Hans Peter Martin Party. If the OEVP and FPOE gained a lot (not very likely), there might be a theoretical possibility for a FPOE-OEVP coalition. Schuessel might be tempted to have a go at that, after all, he has shown in the past that he's not above working with the far right. And Strache might agree to a coalition when rewarded with some office, as long as he doesn't have to work with BZOE (which in this scenario, would not be necessary).

However, new elections would be unpopular, and it's quite possible that a similar situation as the current arises. So maybe the OEVP and SPOE will overcome their animosity after all. We'll see and I'll keep you posted.

by Almanax on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 07:07:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Austrian state television is reporting polls that almost 80% of the population favour a continuation of negotiations between OEVP and SPOE, although 50% seem to think that new elections are the best course if these should fail.
by Almanax on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 07:19:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right after the election the BZOE's frontman Westenthaler became embroiled in a rather ridiculous and ugly "brawl-affair" - his bodyguard allegedly beat up the press-chief of a former BZOE minister who had quit the party shortly before the election out of disgust about their xenophobe policies.

Do you think this affair, while disgusting those already not voting for the pack, will strip off any BZÖ voters?

BTW, hast du kein Umlaut an der Tastatur?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 07:34:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are probably right to doubt how important that "brawl affair" will be. However, since the BZOE really cannot afford any losses at all, it might contribute to its possible demise. More important might be the general feeling that the FPOE is the real heir to the Austrian radical right, whereas the BZOE is just a bunch of left-overs with no clear convictions or achievements.

Wegen der Umlaute... ich habe den Artikel auf einer englischen Tastatur geschrieben (lebe derzeit in London). Werde es noch ausbessern, falls ich die Zeit finde.

by Almanax on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 08:06:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some Westenthaler fun I found:



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 08:21:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The first two are particularly to the point. The quarrel about the bilangual road signs in Kaernten is hard to top in terms of pettiness and baseness on part of Haider and the BZOE.
by Almanax on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 03:23:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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