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 Post Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:37 pm 
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We will have parliamentary elections in october. Things have been set in motion a while ago (prior to the UK elections), i have not yet posted mainly because most what is to report is about byzantine intrigues rather then about policy, where outsiders can relate. But it looks more and more like with this election there will be a lasting change to the political landscape of Austria.

Austria is run since around the mid 00s by a coalition of social democrats (SPÖ) and conservatives (ÖVP), that is still called grand coalition out of tradition, though in the last election they just got over 50% of the votes together. The 2 parties hate each others guts. While they ran the country without great hiccups, it seemed like the favourite pasttime of governing party politicans was to take cheap shots at the coalition partner.

Last year the SPÖ replaced their leader with a more charismatic outsider in a controlled fashion, promised a new style of governing and basically things kept going like they did before.

This year the ÖVP leader Reinhold Mitterlehner, who was generally not expected to lead them into the next election, pretty abruptly resigned from all his offices, basically because he was fed up with being considered a "dead man walking". The logical successor, foreign minister Sebastian Kurz, accepted the leadership of the party only under a set of condition, that included new elections. So the ÖVP broke the coalition.

So what are the parties and the position they are in:

SPÖ, the social democrats. They have a fairly new leader, but most of the newness has worn off by now. They have been flailing around a bit after the breaking coalition (like venting ideas of going on with a minority government until the next regular elections and then nothing came out of it). There have been attempts to remove the long held position of "definitly no coalition with the FPÖ". Some parts of the party want to get rid of it, others want to keep it and in the end they formed a catalog of criteria, that potential coalition partners must meet to be considered, where you can interpret a "definitly no" of a "we don't really want, but if there is nothing else" into it and kept that as "Schroedinger" position. Overall there now is a greater chance of a SPÖ FPÖ coalition then ever since the 80s.

ÖVP, Their new leader insisted on running as "List Kurz" rather then like usually as ÖVP, and that a lot of powers, that were with party comitees to be transfered to him. Like compiling the lists. Overall the sales pitch is, that this is some new list, that is just supported by the ÖVP. They also changed the party colour from black to turquois. Overall it also seems like they are gearing up for a coalition with the FPÖ.

FPÖ, far right xenophobes. They are pretty much stick to their tried and true formulas. I kinda hope that now they look a bit dated with it and that their victor image got a serious dent in the presidental election, but i never was able to correctly guess their potential.

Greens. political correct intelectual progressives. Their rather uncharismatic leader decided to step down, when she knew that there was a new election, so they had some quickfix, the local party leader of Tyrol as party leader, and a fairly well known EU parliamentarian as leading candidate for the election.
In the 80s they have started as collection of pigheaded mavericks, who loved to provoke anyone in any form of authority anywhere. Meanwhile they have mostly changed to a party with little edges (mostly them being political correct, feminist and pro minorities) and barely any individual edges for politicans. The last remaining maverick, Peter Pilz has not gotten the place he wanted to have a strong mandate for his ideas, so he is no longer on their list and consideres to run with his own list.

Neos. sort of libertarian, but not in the crazy fashion, that US libertarians are. They just made it into the parliament last time and they are basically running the same campain as for the last election. Given a portion of their apeal last time was "something new", and there is a lot of "new" going around now, we will see how well they fare.

Team Stronach, spineless turncoats. The party was for practial purposes already dead, they decided not to run anymore. Good riddence.

List Pilz (see Greens). It's not even official, if there will be a List Pilz and what they will be called, but it seems more and more likely that there will be something like it. It also seems like it's likely that they can beat the 4% entry boundary.


So what are the important changes:

* We have a higher chance of getting a government with the FPÖ then since a long while. It could even be a SPÖ-FPÖ coalition, which was pretty much unthinkable since the 90s.
* ÖVP leader Kurz gambled high. If he is successfull it can mean a serious cutting back of powers that be, within the ÖVP.
* The Neos might not meet the 4% entry boundary.
* We might have a split of the Green party in a politically correct, don't rock the boat, feel good party (current Green party) and a loudmouthed leftwing populist faction (the list Pilz).

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 Post Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:04 am 
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Your OVP sounds like they're going to a bad place. And your FPO sounds like they might be already there. I'm kind of hoping they don't go coalition, based entirely on your post.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:09 pm 
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I think I'm going to do some research this weekend on this situation. Don't feel qualified to comment yet, but if I end up with some time to look it over a bit I might just put my two cents in.

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 Post Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:44 pm 
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Here is the english Wikipedia Link to the elction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrian_legislative_election,_2017

It is now fix, which parties candidate. Additional to the established parties already in the parliament (SPÖ ÖVP, FPÖ Greens, Neos) we have:

List Pilz: (Former) Green maverick, who sort of tries to make a list of other leftwing mavericks. According to polls the List has good chances to get over the 4% boundary and IMO it is the only new list, that has a realistic chance to do that. The difference to the Greens is, as far as i can see, that they aim for less internal unity and conformity and value making waves over not offending anyone.

FLÖ Free List of Austria: A collection of former FPÖ politicans, that fell out of favour with the party leadership. AFAIK there are no real ideological difference to the FPÖ, it's just other people.

KPÖ: Communists, with some disgruntled Green youth functionaries.

Gilt: (my vote counts) It's not entirely clear if that is serious or performance art. It's a list created by a comedian, and proposes that they don't have any program of their own, but that "citizens parliaments" should then decide, how their parliamentarians should vote, at least thats how i understood it. There are also statements by the founder like (i do that from memmory, so it might not be perfectly accurate), that their aim is not reach or do anything, but to take something away from the other parties.

Die Weißen: The whites. They have a similiar idea to Gilt, that citiziens should with an app be able to tell their parliamentarians how to vote.

SLP: socialist Left Party. Other communist who seem to do a Idean popular Front vs Popular Front of Idea thing. they only candidate in Vienna and Upper Austria.

EUAUS: Anto EU Party, candidates only in Vienna

ODP: Homeless in Politics a party for homeless people, candidates only in Vienna

CPÖ: Christian party, candidates only in Vorarlberg

M: Mens party, candidates only in Vorarlberg

NBZ: new Movement for the Future, AFAIK de facto a party for conservative muslims, candidates only in Vorarlberg.

The SPÖ's String of bad luck has not stopped, meanwhile their primary campain consulter has been arrested for IIRC tax fraud.

Polls are still good for the ÖVP, though i am at a loss to guess why. By gut feeling i would say that the ÖVP is overrated in the polls, and the SPÖ and Greens are a bit underrated, but my gut feeling has often been wrong, when it comes to politics.

Here is a site that collects polls: https://neuwal.com/wahlumfragen/index.php?cid=1

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 Post Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:28 am 
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The SPÖ campain starts to look more and more like from some slapstick comedy.

Now it was found out, that some team hired by Tal Silberstein, their campain consulter, whom they have fired a while ago, because he was arrested for tax fraud in Israel, had been running 2 facebook sites, one that pretended to be Kurz fans, but being so in a way that it gives Kurz fans a bad name and one that attacked Kurz in a rightwing antisemite xenophobic style.

According to party officials only one functionary knew about the whole thing and he is currently in a hospital after an accident and so can't be questioned. They also deny that any of the parties money was spent on that. The campain manager has resigned and some party officials have implied that the whole thing could be some very complex ÖVP operation.

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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:04 am 
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And now there are allegations, that ÖVP party funcionaries did have clandestine meetings with Silberstein-underlings, offering them bribes to switch sides or that some have already been moles.

I can't quite decide if that is an attempt of the SPÖ to spread the dirt a little, or if Austrian campains really work like spy thrillers. Given i have not intended to vote for either of thoose parties anyway, at least i don't need to find out before the election date.

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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:12 am 
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The election is over, the results can be seen here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrian_legislative_election,_2017 (It still says prelimiary, but there are final results now and nothing relevant changes)

Both ÖVP and FPÖ won, the SPÖ and Neos held their results, the Green lost so much, that they missed the 4% entry boundary and the List Pilz got in. The ÖVP is now the largest party.

I am somewhat suprised by the huges losses of the Greens. Yes there are reasons not to vote for them (more interest in byzantine party internal machinations, over the top political correctness, out of touch with anyone, who is not already a party member) but thoose were there already in the last election. and the splitoff List Pilz got only a little over 4% and if i understood the analysis correctly not even half of that came from Geen voters of the last election.

Now i guess we either get a ÖVP - FPÖ coalition pretty fast, or we will have month and month of bargaining before we get a new government (or new elections, if no coalition can be formed).

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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:19 pm 
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You actually have a party called "The Whites"? Is that racial?

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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:26 am 
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Their program is that they don't have a program, but rather will have some app, where citizens can vote for what they should vote for in parliament. I suppose their name either comes from the German term to "vote white", which means to put unfilled ballot into the box, or from a white canvas with nothing on it.

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 Post Posted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:41 am 
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It's no longer directly connected to the election itself, but the List Pilz got into some trouble.

Allegations of sexual harressment against the founder and most prominent member Peter Pilz have become public.

One case was made by (if i undertand it correctly) some secretary of his, back when he was still with the Greens (2015/2016). He denies thoose allegations and says they have been revange for her not getting some promotion. The Green party has made some out of court settlement with her, that mainly involved her getting a different position, thus seperating her from Pilz. It seems Pilz wanted a public court case back then, but she did not want that. Overall it seems a case of "one of them is lying", the case does not seem to have had a torough investigation and especially not enough if publically known, that i could form an opinion about it.

The other case was at some sort of convention 2013, when he had according to the allegations groped some woman while he was drunk. He says he does not remember the incident.

He declared his resignation, because of the second incident, then relativized the resignation and wavered about and finally settled on not taking his seat in the new parliament*, taking some time off, but saying eventually he will return to politics.

* that will go to an other member of his list, there are no byelections.

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