Thursday

23rd Nov 2017

Austria coalition re-elected, but anti-EU parties gain

  • Werner Faymann hopes to remake the centrist coalition (Photo: SPÖ)

Austria's centrist coalition led by Chancellor Werner Faymann scored a razor-thin majority in Sunday's (29 September) elections, with anti-EU populists and right-wing nationalists boosting their ranks in the Alpine country.

The two main centrist parties - Faymann's Social Democrats (SPO) and the centre-right People's Party (OVP) - together got only 50.9 percent of the vote, their worst score since the Second World War.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The vote is enough to remake the grand coalition that has been governing Austria since 2008, but OVP chief and foreign minister Michael Spindelegger is suggesting tough negotiations as he does not rule out talks with other parties.

"Voters gave us a warning note. We cannot carry on as before," Spindelegger said.

Meanwhile, populist anti-EU parties have grown to a combined 27 percent in a country where people can vote from the age of 16 and stand as candidates once they are 18.

The anti-euro, anti-immigrant Freedom Party (FPO) scored its best result since 1999, with 21.4 percent of the vote, under the leadership of 44-year old Heinz-Christian Strache, whom supporters call "HC."

Strache, who is similar in style to the late right-wing nationalist Joerg Haider, appeals to young and rural voters with his simple discourse emphasising the rights of Austrians over immigrants, the illegality of euro-bailouts and his country's possibility to quit the euro.

Haider's party, BZO, failed to make it into the parliament, scoring only 3.6 percent.

But a new populist party led by 81-year old businessman Frank Stronach managed to enter with 5.8 percent of the vote. "Team Stronach" campaigned on splitting the euro along national lines, "because a German or Austrian euro is worth more than a Greek one" and having the death penalty reintroduced for "professional hit men."

Another newcomer to the Austrian parliament is the liberal Neos party, which scored 4.8 percent of the vote - over the four-percent threshold to make it into the legislature. The Greens are also represented in the parliament, having garnered 11.5 percent of the vote.

This article was corrected to say that FPO had its best result since 1999, not its best result ever.

Austrian far-right in fresh push for EU respectability

Buoyed by their recent success in the polls, the Austrian and French far right have made a fresh push for respectability in the European Parliament. A blurring of the 'softer' far right with eurosceptic parties may be in the offing.

Austrians give landslide to Social Democrat president

Austria's incumbent Social Democrat president, Heinz Fischer, won a second six-year term in office on Sunday, with 79 percent of the vote. But a far-right candidate, Barbara Rosenkranz, known for opposition to the country's Holocaust denial laws that had dominated election news, in the end captured only 15 percent.

Focus

Haider's daughter to run in EU elections

The daughter of the late far-right Austrian politician Joerg Haider has announced she will run in the European Parliament elections for the eurosceptic Alliance for the Future of Austria.

Analysis

EU 'cannot afford' lengthy German deadlock

Angela Merkel's failure to form a coalition government has raised concerns in Europe that the EU's most powerful country will send the block into paralysis.

Analysis

EU 'cannot afford' lengthy German deadlock

Angela Merkel's failure to form a coalition government has raised concerns in Europe that the EU's most powerful country will send the block into paralysis.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  4. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  5. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  6. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  7. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  10. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  11. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  12. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!

Latest News

  1. Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP
  2. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  3. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  4. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  5. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  6. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  7. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  8. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'