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Angela Merkel in The Land of Smiles

Angela Merkel in The Land of Smiles

Germany’s elections are over. The winners and losers are clear, and the political landscape has changed profoundly. The real drama, however, occurred not among the country’s main parties but on the boundaries of the political spectrum. Chancellor Angela Merkel is celebrating a landslide victory, with her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) having fallen just short of […]

After the Election

After the Election

The German saying “Man soll den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben” (“Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched”) proved true  once again on 29 September. Both Social Democrats (SPÖ) and Conservatives (ÖVP), while still victorious, had to face major losses. But unlike other EU countries, the Austrian coalition was not voted out. With […]

Careful What You Wish For

Careful What You Wish For

Maria Vassilakou and Vienna’s Green party have not been everybody’s darling when it comes to pedestrianizing Europe’s longest shopping street. Mariahilferstraße’s makeover has been severely criticised, both in the media and on Facebook, prompting uproar about disappearing parking spaces, unruly cyclists and a controversial 13A bus lane (see “Multi-tasking Mariahilfer” Brief , p.4). Wary pedestrians […]

Greens for Government?

Greens for Government?

    Greens Press on Towards the Top, 15 May by Meret Baumann Austria’s Greens have long stood in the shadow of entrepreneur Frank Stronach’s new party in this significant election year. While the billionaire was guaranteed the attention of observers and the media, not least because of his unconventional campaigning and his decisive gains […]

New green bike lanes

New green bike lanes

Thanks to the Greens, Vienna’s bike lanes are getting a new paint job, to enhance visibility and improve safety, according to the city’s Transportation Ministry. The pilot starts with test routes at the intersection Bellariastraße /Dr.-Karl-Renner-Ring and on the Gürtel parallel to Westbahnhof, each between 10 and 30 metres long. Vice Mayor Maria Vassilakou (Green […]

Chair of Parliamentary Corruption Enquiry resigns

Chair of Parliamentary Corruption Enquiry resigns

The head of an Austrian parliamentary enquiry investigating corruption, the Green Party MP Gabriela Moser, resigned on 18 Sept., following a row with the government over investigating Social Democratic Chancellor Werner Faymann. This has caused a deadlock in the inquiry. Faymann and a top aide are being questioned about claims that they illegally pressured the […]

Are the Greens Fit to Govern?

Are the Greens Fit to Govern?

The collapse of the coalition government between the conservative ÖVP and the Green Party in the Styrian capital of Graz at the end of May raised serious doubts whether the latter might be a reliable partner for national government. Nevertheless, the Green Party is junior partner in regional governments of Upper Austria and Vienna, and […]

The Kronen Zeitung Heats Up Integration Debates

On March 11 the Viennese daily Kronen Zeitung, published a two-year-old picture of Green Party Parliamentarian Alev Korun in a dirndl, a traditional Austrian dress. In the text, columnist Peter Gnam suggested that Korun, a native Turk, was mocking Austria traditions simply by the wearing of it. Gnam reported that an Austrian Parliamentarian delegation had […]

A Little Less Torture

The political struggles over immigration have entered another round with a revision of the Foreigners’ Law submitted to the Austrian Parliament Feb. 22.  After heated negotiations in the governing coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the People’s Party (ÖVP), a compromise was reached that softened some of the worst features, but left most of the […]

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