Austria’s far right cries foul after presidential election defeat.
Even before it emerged that the Freedom party (FPÖ) candidate, Norbert Hofer,had lost out on the presidency due to a strong performance in the postal vote by his rival, Alexander Van der Bellen, the party’s secretary, Herbert Kickl, had said that absentee votes had in the past shown up “inconsistencies”.
“Accomplices of the current political system could potentially use the opportunity to adjust the result in favour of the system’s representative, Alexander Van der Bellen,” Kickl said.
On his Facebook page, the party leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, seized on irregularities in Linz and Waidhofen, where the final result announced a voter turnout of 146.9%. The interior ministry said the figure was the result of a data entry error.
Hofer, whose election would have confronted the European Union with a far-right president for the first time, said on Sunday night that there was “something a little bit strange in the way the postal vote is counted”.
The Freedom party, whose 49.7% in the final result represents a huge shift in Austria’s political landscape, will now set its sight on the next general election, which must be held before September 2018.
A poll by ATV institute published over the weekend shows the FPÖ leading on 34%, ahead of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPÖ) on 26%, the centre-right People’s party on 18% and the Greens on 13%.
Austria: Far-Right Loses by Hair-Breadth and Cries Foul.
The Austrian daily Krone found this ‘humour’ in poor taste. It could find no worse comparison to make than with the kind of coverage presented in the Mail on Sunday. which had presented Hofer as the country’s ‘next Fuhrer.”
These are some reports worth thinking about.
“Der Vormarsch der FPÖ, die 2018 die Machtübernahme in Wien anvisiert, zeigt, dass gerade eine Gewissheit zerbricht – dass Rechtspopulisten im Westen nicht die Mehrheit erobern können.
Zum ersten Mal wählte die Hälfte der Bürger einer westeuropäischen Republik eine Politik, die antimuslimisch, antieuropäisch und chauvinistisch ist. Und es war keine Protestwahl, bei der die Frustrierten den Mächtigen bloß mal den Stinkefinger zeigen wollten. Die Hälfte der Österreicher will eine andere Republik.
The progress of the FPÖ shows, in view of the 2018 electoral contest in Vienna, that a certainty has been smashed – that Right-wing populism in the West can never reach a majority.
For the first time half of the citizens of a Western European state, voted for an anti-Muslim, anti-European and chauvinist Party Manifesto. It was not a protest vote, from frustrated people sticking two fingers up against the power elite. Half of Austrians want another Republic.
These days, it is becoming clear just how large, and likely lasting, the estrangement has become between voters and those parties, like the ÖVP and SPÖ, that were once defined by the term Volkspartei. Their old mistakes have continued through the decades and new ones have joined them. Both the center right and the center left have underestimated the electorate’s anger that has built up as a result of their almost God-given claim to leadership in Austria.
Right-Wing Hipsters’ Increasingly Powerful In Austria
The Central European country’s right-wing extremism is winning over youths with its charm.
Martin Sellner looks like an H&M model. But beneath the smile the 27-year-old philosophy student wears the sinister new face of Europe’s extreme right.
Sellner is the co-founder of the Austria’s Identitären Bewegung (Identitarian Movement), a collection of young, anti-immigrant Austrians who describe themselves as “right-wing hipsters.” The IB, as Sellner calls the organization for short, is rising in popularity in Austria. It considers itself among the most successful right-wing youth movements in Europe, and that is causing concern.
Analysis of the Vote:
.. the SORA institute, a pollster, had said that mail-in ballots were likely to favour van der Bellen because they are traditionally used by more educated voters. The institute’s election-day polling showed 81 percent of voters with a university degree had backed van der Bellen and 86 percent of workers voted for Hofer.
Le Monde on the same theme,
… l’élection a surtout dévoilé une polarisation inquiétante de ce pays de 8,6 millions d’habitants. M. Van der Bellen l’a emporté dans presque toutes les grandes villes, chez les femmes et chez les plus diplômés ; M. Hofer dans les campagnes, chez les hommes, surtout les moins diplômés. Il obtient 86 % des voix des ouvriers. Ses électeurs affirment avoir voté pour lui parce qu’il comprend les soucis de la population, et parce qu’il semblait sympathique.
The election showed, above all, a worrying polarisation in this country of 8,6 million. Van der Bellen won in nearly all the cities, amongst women and amongst those with the highest qualifications. Hofer, won in the countryside, amongst men, and particularly amongst the least qualified. He got 86% of the workers’ vote. Those who cast a ballot for him say that they backed him because he understands their concerns, and because he appears friendly and approachable.
On Sunday, before the final polls gave Van der Bellen a narrow victory, this was the reaction from Europe’s far-right,
The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party leader Frauke Petry welcomed the “terrific outcome,” and in a tweet suggested Austria’s vote could be “a foretaste of positive change in Europe.”
Marine Le Pen of France’s Front National called it a “magnificent result. Bravo to the Austrian people.” She told broadcaster France 2 it showed people were starting to realize the European Union was failing to foster economic growth and curb immigration.
“There is clearly a growing awareness among people in Europe that the EU is an anti-democratic structure that subjugates people,” Le Pen said.
Dutch far-right MP Geert Wilders said the FPÖ’s performance was “fantastic.” Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s far-right Northern League movement expressed his “great joy,” saying the FPÖ was “calling for controlled migration, more jobs and a different Europe – like us they want rules, order, jobs and tranquility.”
Now we have this;