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My feeling is that the FPOE would most likely benefit, probably at the expense of the OEVP and BZOE. But that's just a rough estimate.

I don't think the BZOE has done anything to improve its standing since the election, on the contrary, the "brawl affair" - although petty and probably not that important in itself - has highlighted the rather odious personality traits of Westenthaler and given him some bad headlines. More importantly, the FPOE has successfully established itself as the main right-wing opposition party and will probably attract more support as such, whereas the BZOE is really just a few left-overs and opportunists who have barely made it into parliament. I'd argue that they've got the "loser" image among the two right wing parties now. And who wants to vote for the losers? Westenthaler's justifications on national TV that he was really the "winner" of the election (I think he didn't even get 2% in Vienna, his home district) was rather ridiculous. To me it is not really clear why anyone would support the BZOE unless you're in Kaernten and a fan of Haider.

And if you stoop to the level of voting either for BZOE or FPOE, you won't object to the FPOE's xenophobe, German nationalist ideology, so that wouldn't hinder you. I don't know how many of the BZOE voters made a conscious decision not to vote for the FPOE out of bitterness about the break-up of the old FPOE and loyalty issues related to that. I'd wager not too many outside the core of their membership.

If the BZOE drops out, the positive thing would be that Greens and SPOE could probably form a majority coalition if they maintain their results. On the other hand, BZOE-FPOE infighting is no good for the right-wing as a whole. On balance though, I'd probably like to see the BZOE go. I favour a Green-SPOE coalition and I don't want the BZOE guys in parliament just to attack the FPOE, and there's really no other good reason for them to be there and many against it.

On the other hand, the vote for the BZOE outside Kaernten is already that low that it's hard to imagine how it could decrease further, and within Kaernten the BZOE has a huge support base built up over many years and held together by Haider. They might get a direct mandate from there even if they lose further elsewhere.

by Almanax on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 04:52:58 PM EST
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