SALZBURG. The triumph of the FPÖ continues. On Sunday, the right-wing party achieved the best result in its history in the state elections in Salzburg. It increased by 7.1 percentage points to 25.9 percent and is now the second strongest party. The ÖVP of Governor Wilfried Haslauer was able to defend first place, but lost 7.4 points to 30.4 percent.
The previous coalition partners of the ÖVP, Greens and left-liberal NEOs, also lost. The NEOs even flew out of the state parliament with a loss of 3.2 points. With 4.1 percent, they clearly missed the five percent hurdle. The Greens fell to 8.0 percent (minus 1.3 points) but still spoke of a “climate election”. A continuation of the previous coalition is therefore ruled out.
SPÖ with the worst result since 1945
The opposition SPÖ cast votes again at a low level: with 17.9 percent (-2.2) they clearly lost second place to the FPÖ and achieved their worst result since 1945. A majority of one seat would just about suffice for a black-red coalition. Whether the ÖVP decides in favor of such an alliance, whether it will even include the Greens or whether it will rule with the Freedom Party, she left open.
The state elections in Tyrol, Lower Austria and Carinthia have already brought strong gains for the FPÖ with heavy defeats alternately or simultaneously by the ÖVP, SPÖ, Greens and NEOs. Now the Freedom Party is also victorious in Salzburg. Across Austria, the FPÖ even takes first place in polls with 28 to 30 percent.
The reasons for the FPÖ triumph
Observers attribute this both to the crisis in the ÖVP due to the fall of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and various affairs, as well as to the general dissatisfaction with the established parties in view of inflation and the Corona policy. Added to this is the strong influx of migrants from Islamic countries. While the ÖVP, SPÖ, Greens and NEOs can hardly be distinguished from each other in these policy areas, the FPÖ takes a contrary position on all issues. She also rejects the Russian sanctions that lead to high energy prices in Austria.
In addition, there is a united appearance of the party leadership. The FPÖ does not split into different wings. The protagonists currently hardly differ in substance, at most in tone. Salzburg’s FPÖ top candidate Marlene Svazek, the only woman among the state chairmen of the Freedom Party, belongs to the quieter category – also compared to the federal chairman Herbert Kickl. Politically, however, no sheet of paper fits between the two. After the election, Kickl spoke of “a new political age in Salzburg”.
And the only 30-year-old top candidate appealed to the ÖVP not to form “a coalition of losers”. According to the state chairwoman, the voters wanted “the Freedom Party to take responsibility”. A two-party alliance of ÖVP and FPÖ would have a sufficient majority in the Salzburg state parliament.
FPÖ ahead of all voters up to 60
The previous record result of the FPÖ in the Austrian state bordering Bavaria was 24 years ago: in 1999 it won 19.6 percent in Salzburg. She clearly surpassed that this time. In the age groups 18 to 29 years and 30 to 59 years it even became the strongest party on Sunday. The ÖVP was only in the lead among those aged 60 and over. But that was enough for first place.
The KPÖ also recorded a sensational success, which is also an expression of the great dissatisfaction in Austria. Coming out of nowhere, the communists entered the state parliament with 11.7 percent. This is an increase of 11.3 points. They relegated the Greens to fifth place.
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