Austria

Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Austria.

Austria: Austria turns sharply to the right in an election shaped by immigration | The Washington Post

Austria became the latest European country to take a sharp turn right on Sunday, with the conservative People’s Party riding a hard-line position on immigration to victory in national elections and likely to form a government with a nationalist party that has long advocated for an even tougher stance. The result puts the 31-year-old foreign minister and People’s Party leader, Sebastian Kurz, in line to become Austria’s next chancellor after a campaign in which he emphasized the need to strengthen border controls, reduce caps on refugees and slash benefits for newcomers. Much of Kurz’s rhetoric echoed positions long held by the Freedom Party, which for decades has anchored the far right of politics in this nation of 8.7 million. Read More

Austria: Conservative Sebastian Kurz on track to become Austria’s next leader | The Guardian

The centre of political gravity in Austria shifted to the right after the conservative Austrian People’s party (ÖVP) came out top in national elections, making its 31-year-old leader, Sebastian Kurz, the youngest head of a government in the EU. Projections on Sunday night put the ÖVP ahead with 31.7% of the vote. The incumbent chancellor Christian Kern’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPÖ) were relegated to second place with 27% of the vote, while the far-right FPÖ took 25.9%, failing to match its best-ever result. For the first time in Austria’s history, the two rightwing parties both managed to increase their seats tally without taking votes off each other. The result represents a triumph for Kurz, who has turned around his party’s fortunes and said he was “overwhelmed” with the result, vowing to introduce to the country a “new political culture” of togetherness under his leadership. Read More

Austria: Populists expect to be kingmakers as politics takes turn to right | The Guardian

Austrian politics is set to tip to the right less than a year after averting a far-right presidency by the populist Freedom party , with the party on course to emerge as coalition kingmaker in Sunday’s national elections. Though currently fighting for second place behind 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz of the centre-right Austrian People’s party (ÖVP), the Freedom party has managed to dictate the agenda of a campaign centred largely around immigration and fears of radical Islam, and will receive a last-stretch boost from a “dirty campaigning” row between the traditional centre parties. Neither Kurz nor incumbent chancellor Christian Kern of the centre-left SPÖ have ruled out entering a coalition with the Freedom party, whose current leader Heinz-Christian Strache could become the first European politician with a neo-Nazi background to sit in government since the second world war. Read More

Austria: Social Democrats urge Facebook to unmask people behind smear campaign | Rueters

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern’s Social Democrats asked Facebook to disclose the identities of those behind sites which they say are spreading libel in an attempt to clean up a smear campaign scandal ahead of an election on Oct. 15. Kern has pledged to get to the bottom of his party’s links to Facebook pages which have made unsusbtantiated allegations against Sebastian Kurz, the head of the main opposition People’s Party, who is leading in polls for the forthcoming parliamentary vote. The scandal has already cost Kern’s campaign manager his job. The Social Democrats’ lawyers wrote to Facebook in Ireland on Tuesday saying the group must, according to EU rules, hand over details about users who operate sites showing potentially libellous content about Kern and Kurz. Read More

Austria: October election called, far-right FPO could enter government | Reuters

Austria’s main parties agreed to hold an early parliamentary election on October 15, Chancellor Christian Kern said on Tuesday, in a vote that might bring the far-right Freedom Party into government. In the autumn of a year that will have seen Dutch, French, British and German general elections, the Alpine republic will decide its future course on immigration, labor and social policy and its position within the European Union. “We have agreed on Oct. 15 (for parliamentary elections),” Kern said after meeting leaders of all parliamentary parties. The next election was originally due to be held in autumn 2018. Read More

Austria: Coalition collapse opens way to far-right election challenge | Financial Times

Austria’s government coalition collapsed on Friday, almost certainly paving the way for elections in the autumn, when one of Europe’s longest-established far-right populist parties could win the largest share of the vote. Sebastian Kurz, foreign minister, in effect tore up a coalition deal between his centre-right People’s party and chancellor Christian Kern’s Social Democrats by demanding an early national vote. His decision reflected widespread disenchantment with the “grand coalition,” which has failed so far to reverse Austria’s economic underperformance — although the country remains among the most affluent in Europe. Read More

Austria: Voters reject far-right candidate Norbert Hofer in presidential election | The Guardian

Austria has decisively rejected the possibility of the EU getting its first far-right head of state, instead electing a former leader of the Green party who said he would be an “open-minded, liberal-minded and above all a pro-European president”. Alexander Van der Bellen, who ran as an independent, increased his lead over the far-right Freedom party candidate, Norbert Hofer, by a considerable margin from the original vote in May, which was annulled by the constitutional court due to voting irregularities. Hofer conceded his defeat within less than half an hour of the first exit polls on Sunday, writing on Facebook: “I congratulate Alexander Van der Bellen for his success and ask all Austrians to pull together and work together.” The 45-year-old, who said he was “endlessly sad” and “would have liked to look after Austria”, confirmed that he would like to run again for the presidency in six years’ time. The Freedom party secretary, Herbert Kickl, who has acted as Hofer’s campaign manager, said: “The bottom line is it didn’t quite work out. In this case the establishment – which pitched in once again to block, to stonewall and to prevent renewal – has won.” Read More

Austria: Vying for Their Own Election Upset, Austrian Populists Forge Ties to Trump Allies | Wall Street Journal

Senior politicians from Austria’s anti-immigrant Freedom Party celebrated the upset victory of Donald Trump at an election-night party in Trump Tower in New York. This Sunday, when their nation goes to the polls, they will be hoping for an improbable presidency of their own. Mr. Trump’s win has energized populist politicians across Europe who echo his criticism of immigration, free trade and international institutions and calls for improved ties with Russia. But nowhere, perhaps, is the jubilation as great as in Austria, where the Freedom Party now sees years of quiet efforts to establish ties with conservative Republicans in the U.S. paying off just as its own candidate stands on the verge of the Austrian presidency. The party’s Norbert Hofer is running neck-and-neck with center-left candidate Alexander Van der Bellen in the polls ahead of Austria’s runoff presidential election on Sunday. Mr. Hofer’s victory would give the Freedom Party—long ostracized for its xenophobic rhetoric and past links to former Nazis—the Austrian presidency for the first time. Read More

Austria: Interior Minister says no further delay to December 4 election, dismisses ballot scare | Reuters

Austria said on Tuesday there was no reason to delay again its presidential election due on Dec. 4 after newspapers reported it was possible to order postal ballots online using fake passport numbers. A new flaw in the electoral system would be a major embarrassment. A re-run of the presidential run-off held in May was already ordered because rules on ballot-counting were broken, which in turn was postponed because of faulty envelopes. Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka, however, said there was no reason for yet another delay of the re-run between the far-right Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer and former Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen. Having narrowly lost the neck-and-neck contest in May, Hofer could become the European Union’s first far-right head of state. The post is largely ceremonial but the president heads the armed forces and can play an important role in the formation of coalition governments. Asked if there was any reason to postpone the vote, Sobotka said: “No, absolutely certainly not.” Read More

Austria: Election may come unstuck over glue problem on postal votes | The Guardian

Austria’s rerun presidential election, scheduled for 2 October, may be postponed on technical grounds because of problems with glue on postal votes coming unstuck, the country’s interior ministry has said. The election was originally held in May but the constitutional court ordered a repeat poll after the far-right Freedom party (FPO) successfully challenged the result due to procedural irregularities. The FPO candidate, Norbert Hofer, narrowly lost that vote to the former Green party leader Alexander Van der Bellen, who was running as an independent. Hofer has led in recent opinion polls. “If an apparent failure in production makes it impossible to properly conduct the election, then it is my duty as the highest-ranking executive of the electoral authority to immediately consider a postponement,” the interior minister, Wolfgang Sobotka, said in an emailed statement. An interior ministry spokeswoman said a decision was expected early next week. Read More