Austrian General Elections

 

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Campaigns we deserve, 15 Aug.

by Christina Aumayr

Political campaigning has started, and one can already draw some conclusions. The chancellor’s motto seems to be: as emotionless, as demagogic and non-committal as possible. That’s probably enough to secure the party’s pole position in autumn. So far, the SPÖ campaign engine has chugged along without any hiccups through a less than creative contest.

The other day, one could observe how Claus Pándi, national politics editor of the daily [tabloid] Krone, was being briefed about the [SPÖ’s] campaign strategy in a Vienna garden restaurant. That’s where one should take lessons in style from Angela Merkel.

The German chancellor was also presenting her strategy in advance. But not only to one tabloid, but also to editors of highbrow newspapers. The SPÖ party leader is often happy to adopt Merkel’s positions, so perhaps there is still hope. […]

 

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It’s election time. Or is it?, 13 Aug.

by Alexander Purger

Boredom. Voters are justifiably uninterested in this year’s election campaign. What interests them isn’t being offered, and what’s being offered is of no interest.

Maybe this lack of momentum to the campaign has to do with the weather. For people to be interested in politics in temperatures of 35°C is an impossibility. That’s revenge for the coalition’s choice to run the legislature period right to the end, running into autumn, instead of making the election earlier in spring.

The earliest autumn election date they have ever had in the Second Republic, was 29 September. That means that the election has reached further into the summer holidays than ever before.

And that is difficult campaign territory.

The second reason why there is little to report on this year’s campaign is the lack of ideas and lack of inspiration from the parties. One […] can also see it in the election platforms.

Retro-strategy rules everywhere. The parties make election promises as if there were no debt crisis. They promise things that everyone knows that the substantial government debt renders impossible to finance. Nevertheless, the SPÖ and ÖVP can make their billion-euro election promises without danger. You can be 100% confident that the coalition partners will prevent their fulfilment after the election.

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