Monday, April 25, 2016

Austria's Sunday Election

Back in the spring of 2010.....Austria held an election.  The end-result was a massive win for the Social Democrats (aka the SPO) (the Democratic Party for Austria).  Seventy-nine percent of the public voted for them.  The only odd factor of this election......less than 55-percent of the public voted....meaning only one of every two folks voted.

Yesterday came another election in Austria and it's a pretty wild situation, and has a dramatic effect on Germany.

The Social Democrats had hoped for some repeat performance.  It didn't happen.  They got roughly 11-percent of the national vote.  Dramatic drop.

The results?

The far-right party got 36.40-percent.  The FPO (the Freedom Party of Austria) kinda shocked folks, with a fairly young candidate and got a lot of traction from their anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim discussions.  I think the refugee episode from 2015 probably helped to shape their political message to the public.

The Green Part got 20.4-percent.  The shock here is that they took a good bit of votes away from the Social Democrats success of 2010.

The Social Democrats, 11-percent.

The Freedom Party of Austria, 11-percent. They are the 'Republican-Party' in Austrian form.

Finally, an independent candidate.....a judge running for the office of President....Irmgard 18-percent of the vote.  She had approached the Freedom Party months ago and tried to interest them in her candidacy, and they said no.  Evidentally, she was liked enough to do one-and-a-half times better than the Freedom Party candidate.....which means they could have taken another fifteen percent and been in second-place.....for the second election required (you have to have fifty-percent or better in an Austrian election to win).  So, they really screwed up.

The run-off between the far-right party and the Green Party?  Roughly four weeks.

I admit....the far right candidate could still lose, and the Green Party guy might actually win.....but at this point, it's unlikely.

What would a German political analyst take away from this?  This election was mostly about immigration, integration and past failures (at least seen by the public rather than journalists).  Norbert Hoffer is the FPO candidate and a fairly young guy (45 years old) and seems to do well in public occasions.

This is the kind of scenario that German journalists tend to worry about because neither the German CDU or SPD have any 'bolt-of-lightning' candidates ready for 2017's national election.  If immigration and integration remained a national issue and hyped up for 2017 could involve another fifteen-percent of the public shifting their votes around and going AfD, on top of the 12-percent nationally that they have currently.  It creates a difficult race for both the CDU and SPD to energize and spin positive messages.

The election final in May for Austria?  You might want to pay attention and view the results.  It will have an effect on Germany.

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