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 Post Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:08 am 
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We will vote for a new parliament next sunday. If you think "Wasn't the last election only a short time ago?" you are correct.

After the last election we got a coalition of the ÖVP (mainstream rightwing party, with recently ramped up anti immigrantion sentiments and cult of personality around the leader) and the FPÖ (basically Trumpists).

What worked for them well was message control, they publically showed unity, rather then the public backstabbing of the previous SPÖ (social democrats) /ÖVP coalition.

Somewhat uprecedented the FPÖ got both "armed" ministries, the ministry for internal (police) and the ministry of defence, previously it was a tradition that in a coalition government theese had been shared and even some single party governments had given the minstry of defence to an independet.

The first snag they ran into was about smoking bans of all things. The previous government had decided on a complete smoking ban in restaurants but that had not gone into effect yet. The new governmet, with the FPÖ as driving factor, canceled the smoking ban. A petition to reinstate it was launched and it was among the most successfull petitions. Since the FPÖ had waxed on about direct democracy a lot before, they needed to go to some prezel logics over this.

There also was a much more serious scandal, when the BVT (sort of our FBI) got raided based on corruption charges. It's not entirely clear, if the charges really warranted a raid, the raid had not been executed by the police units, that usually are responsible for such raids but rather by a street crime unit, that is headed by an FPÖ functionary and they also confiscated data on domestic rightwing extremists, that were not really in the scope of this raid. There is an parliamentary investigation into that matter going on, but AFAIK that is not finishded yet.

This spring however, shortly before the EU election, a video apeared, showing FPÖ leader and vice chancellor Strache and FPÖ functionary Gudenus back from before the last election, where they discussed various options for corruption with a fake russian oligarchs niece in a villa in Ibiza. Hence this is called the Ibiza scandal.

Strache and Gudenus did resign, and originally the ÖVP and FPÖ wanted to keep the government going. However the ÖVP also wanted to replace the (FPÖ) minister for the internal, Kickl, because they did not want an FPÖ minister investigate FPÖ corruption. (thats what they publically said at least, other theories are that they were pissed off, that Kickl was working hard on replacing ÖVP networks with FPÖ networks or that they simply thought, we have them by the balls now, so wha not ask for more).

It ended with all FPÖ ministers resigning and them being replaced by (ÖVP close) independents. That lasted only for about a week however, because there was a vote of no confidence against the whole government, that got a majority in the parliament.

Since then we've got a caretaker government and election campains. (BTW the smoking ban has been resinstated but is not yet in effect)

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 Post Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:34 am 
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so who is candidating:

ÖVP (austrian people party, black or turquois). Our traditional conservative party, since their leader Sebastian Kurz took over, they moved more towards anti immigration and cult of personality. Their main message is "either us or there is chaos", which is somewhat undercut by the caretaker government working both well and pretty silently. They are polling around 35%, though generally the more recent the poll is, the lower they are.

SPÖ (social democrat party of austria, red) Our traditional leftwing party, they are primarily structural conservative and risk averse. Recently they did put up outsiders as their leaders, hoping they do a dog and pony show, that attracts voters, while not disturbing any party internal cliques.
They are polling in the low 20s.

FPÖ (freedom party of austria, blue) Our Trumpists. Currently they are lead by Norbert Hofer, who had come close to become our president and they are doing some prezel gymnastics to signal that they want back into the pre Ibiza coalition with the ÖVP, to assure that they have rooted out all corruption and to apease fans of their former leader Strache, where this week it also became public that the party paid him enormos amounts of expenses. Unfortunatly they seem to be quite successfull with this. They are polling around 20%.

The Greens, who barely missed the 4% entry boundary in the last election, but are now polling well in the wake of the fridays for future movement. They poll in the low 10s

The NEOS (New Austria, kinda libertarian, but not in the US crazy fringe way, pink), who position themselfs as the sane person in the room. They poll around 8%

Jetzt ("Now", formerly known as List Pilz) a band of genreally leftwing mavericks, lead by Peter Pilz, who left the Greens before the last election. Most of what they got on media attention since the election was on internal strife, and most of their current parliamentarians are no longer candidating. They poll at 2%, which would mean they miss the entry boundary.

KPÖ (communist party of austria) They always candidate, and if they are particulary successfull they get a bit over 1%.

Wandel (change) an other hopeless leftwing party, that vents airy principles like more solidarity, but are not really having much in specific policy proposals.

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 Post Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:40 pm 
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An interesting point is, that the caretaker government does have AFAIK better approval rating, then the previous governments.

AFAIK it has never been asked in a poll, but i guess it would poll better, then any government formed by any combination of parties on the ballot. And i personally like it better then any realistic combination.

My own "leaning myself out of the window" prediction, that everyone else is skeptical about, is that we might keep it (or a similar one). The ÖVP with a first place and a large lead and currently the only ones in principle willing to form a coalition with the FPÖ, which gives them a tactical advantage, will get greedy and try to play potential coalition partners out against each other too much, and the other parties will go "screw them, we stick with a caretaker government rather then unconditionally surrendering".

Even if it does not turn out like this, i think it's highly likely that coalition negotiations will be a very long process and thus we will still keep them for a while.

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:31 am 
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What are the odds of the SPÖ and the FPÖ coalitioning together, maybe pulling in the Greens to break the 50% mark? If they can maintain a stable government without the ÖVP, that basically destroys the ÖVP platform for the next election, right?

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:29 am 
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There are 3 wings in the SPÖ one that wants to do a coalition with the FPÖ, one that want's nothing to do with them out of principle and one that wants to seem open to negotiations, but not to actually find an agreement with them but to be in a better position, when negotiating with the ÖVP.

There are occasional coalitions on state level, but they are rare. And there is some extensive prezel logic, to explain, why it's fine on state level, but unacceptable on federal level or that they make a list of non negotiable points, that de facto excludes the FPÖ, but they still do not explicitly exclude negotiations.

The current leader is AFAIK more from a "no contact with the FPÖ" wing, but she might be gone after the election, if it goes bad for the SPÖ, but then a SPÖ-FPÖ majority is less likely.

Still given that the very recent scandals of the FPÖ makes it right now much harder to sell a coalition with them to the social left part of their base, then it would at some other times.

So an SPÖ FPÖ coalition right now, would bring the potential of splitting the SPÖ.

I see no way, how the Greens would take part in that. Fighting the FPÖ is one of their core messages.

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:47 pm 
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Just about any other party can fill in for the Greens, maybe even an array of tiny ones. But failing that sort of coalition, it looks like the ÖVP will be part of the winning coalition with decent probability, leaving only the question of who they'll be coalitioning with...

arcosh wrote:
or that they make a list of non negotiable points, that de facto excludes the FPÖ, but they still do not explicitly exclude negotiations.


I've seen that used very well as a tactic over here. Small But Vocal party E talks about a coalition with Very Large Party A; E includes a list of non-negotiable points, including a few points in small print at the bottom of the list that A will never agree to, and one in large print at the top of the list that's E's hot issue (which A is actually probably willing to at least talk about).

A, predictably, declines to coalition.

E promptly says that this refusal to negotiate is clearly due to the issue in large print at the top of their list of conditions and publicises it as a sign that A doesn't care about this large-print condition, in the hope of swinging more votes from A to E.

Coalition talk goes nowhere, but E walks off with extra votes so they're happy...

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 Post Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:41 pm 
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You can see prelimiary results in English here: http://www.parties-and-elections.eu/austria.html

The good thing is, that the FPÖ took a larger hit then expected, the bad thing is, that the ÖVP performed better then the expectations too.

The SPÖ has the worst results in their history, the Greens did a yoyo thing and went from missing the entry boundary to the best result in their history. A lot of that has to do with a group of voters, who usually vote Green, but in the last election switched to the SPÖ, hoping to prevent an ÖVP chancellor, and now have come back.

The NEOS did win a bit, but they will not be the tipping point for a majority now. (They still might be for a 2/3rd majority, that is neccessary for anything that requires changing the constitution)

Jetzt is likely history now.

Basically the coalition options are right now ÖVP-SPÖ, ÖVP-FPÖ and ÖVP-Greens. All of them are in principle viable options. As they had either already existed on national level or in the case of ÖVP-Green are in effect on state level. An other option that is now floated by some media is an ÖVP minority government.

After running a "We just want to go back in the coalition with the ÖVP" campain, now has decided that after that result they would go into opposition. I have no idea if that is their actual strategy, or if they do it, to get a better negotiation position, or if they figured that their message did not do well with voters, so now they change it, but the message does not need to have anything to do with what they do.

I suppose in the SPÖ there will be fights between party wings and who knows what the result of that will be.

The Greens have stated, that they are in principle ready to enter a coalition with the ÖVP, but that their price will be higher, then the ones of SPÖ and FPÖ.

So as i see it, the ÖVP will after their electoral victory expect better deals from their coalition partners, then usualy. The possible coalition partners all will be under pressure to bring something sellable for their base. The negotiations will take forever. Not that i am particulary disturbed by that this time, since i like the caretaker government better then anything that is to be expected to come after it anyway.

I also read an opinion piece that stated, that it would be good strategy for the ÖVP to let the negotiations drag until after 2 state elections early next year, since whichever coalition they enter, they might loose thoose of their voters, that wanted a different one.

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:54 am 
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Currently it looks like the first serious effort for coalition negotiations will be between ÖVP and Greens. The FPÖ has for the time being declined and the SPÖ while in principle willing is quite busy with internal stuff. Still it might be that either of the partners primarily is after a justification to go "Well we have tried.".

The FPÖ now provides us with a soap opera. Back right after the Ibiza vdeo got out and FPÖ leader H.C. Strache resigned he was still on the list for the EU election. And he got plenty of preferrence votes* there. He thought for a while about taking a seat in the EU parliament and embarassing his party, but eventually he did not, but his wife Philippa Strache got a good place on the list for the national elections.

Just before the national elections it had come out that the Strache couple had gotten incredible amounts of money from the party and so the FPÖ decided to break with them. So now the party tried to prevent Philippa Strache from entering the parliament by gaming the system by transferring a guy from a district to a state list*, but they missed some deadline for that (probably because they had not finally broken with the Straches back then).

So now Mrs Strache is elegible for a seat, but will still think for a while if she really takes it. (and most likely wait for a bribe to refuse the seat)

H.C. Strache meanwhile floats the idea to found his own party and demands his official facebook page back, that after Ibiza had been taken over by the party. No idea what chances he would have with that.

* Austrian election trivia 1: You vote for a party list, but you can name a candidate, who should be moved up in the list. Candidates who get above a certain treshhold get ranked before all other candidates of the same list.

* Austrian election trivia 2: Parties file seperate lists for district, state and national level, and while the voter just picks one party, parties then potentially get seats on each of thoose levels. The same candidate can be on lists of all levels, so they might be elegible for seats on more then one level and they have to decide which they take. Generally the preference is to take the lowest level seats, but parties have used that to finnangle candidates in or out of the parliament at times.

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 Post Posted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:35 pm 
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Meanwhile the only negotiations that happen are between ÖVP and Greens.

The FPÖ very early stated their intention not to take part in a government and they also publically declared a list of demands, that would not be negotiable, for them to join a coalition. (Yes thats pretty much "I don't want to play, but if i would, i would only play as goalie".)

The SPÖ soon stated, that unless there are serious negotiations* with them, they don't continue.

Philippa Strache has decided to take her seat in parliament and she promptly got excluded from the FPÖ and the FPÖ parliamentary faction, which means unless she happens to be the deciding vote in some future, she has practically no influence.

Her husband H.C. Strache, whos FPÖ membership is currently suspended, now publically vented the idea, that he could become local leader of the FPÖ in Vienna. The FPÖ leadership is not amused by this.

Corruption investigations in the wake of the Ibiza scandal have brought some chat protocols to the light, that show , that the FPÖ had managed to install an underqualified party member in the board of directors of a gambling company, in exchange for thier cooperation in changing gambling laws. And a large part of the ÖVP leadership had been in the know. Like our former minister of finance, but he defended himself with stating, that he sent the thumbs up emoji, to express "shut up/leave me alone".

And just make things more like a hollywood plot: The Vienna branch of the FPÖ has a (until now) secret stash of gold, that they stored in a farm in a mountain village in the middle of nowhere. Keeping some funds for rainy days is sensible. Investing some of that in gold can make sense. Storing the physical gold in your own safe in some remote location is something, that you likely only do, to feel like a bond villian.

* I run a bit in a translation problem here because what i have described as negotiations before is called here "Sondierung" which could proplably translated as "sounding", sort of pre-negotiations, with less commitment and exclusivity. The point of making a sharp distinction here somewhat eludes me.

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:17 am 
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And now a Strache party exists.

Some Strache loyalists in the Viennese state parliament left the FPÖ and founded a new party, DAÖ, "Die Alternative für Österreich" (the alternative for Austria, and yes the article is part of the parties acronym) and Strache has been expelled from the FPÖ. And yes it had happened in that sequence and Strache officially is not (yet) a member of the DAÖ. The DAÖ stated, that they have the ambition to be active on national level as well and not just in Vienna.

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 5:24 am 
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And someone came up with an alternate explanation for the acronym DAÖ:

In German a GAU is the acronym from "größter anzunehmneder Unfall" which in English is "maximum credible accident".

From that the term DAU has been created, which means "dümmster anzunehmender User", the "dumbest credible user"

And now we have DAÖ, "dümmster anzunehmender Österreicher", the "dumbest credible Austrian".

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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:13 pm 
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Good to know they're still credible.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:56 pm 
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Unfortunately their credibility is due to translation to English. A more direct translation would be "to be assumed".

We have a ÖVP Green government now.

The Greens got some of their enviromental agenda in, though I mainly know headlines and i don't know much specific issues.

There are supposed to be reforms towards what falls under official secrets and an increase in transparency. Thats something that has been on the agenda for civil liberties groups forever, and likely thats not something that easily can get undone by the next government either (since the main counterargument had always been based on inertia). If they get something done there it would be really good.

Ecconomic policy will unfortunatly been done by the ÖVP mainly. So will be pretty much everything that would be included under security policy, a point that makes a big splash is, that the government intends to find a constitutional way to implement the preventive lockup of dangerous asylum seekers. (The ÖVP-FPÖ has made an attempt, that has been struck down as unconstitutional). Some legal experts have said, that there is no way to make it constitutional, we will have to see how that turns out.

I'm not yet sure, what to think about them. I still liked the caretaker government better, but one factor for that is simply my dislike towards having a chancellor Kurz.

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