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Regional Elections

Regional Elections

Stronach’s Gloss and Glory, 5 March by Michael Völker All together 130,000 people in Lower Austria and Carinthia voted this Sunday [3 March] for Team Stronach. That is indeed a strong showing. Even prior to the elections, this ‘test-tube’ party was, in fact, able to form a parliamentary group, and yet has achieved even more […]

Background: Popular Petitions in Austria

A Volksbegehren, or popular petition, is one of three instruments of direct democracy guaranteed by the Austrian constitution. Unlike a referendum, it is not legally binding; nevertheless, the issue raised by a popular petition must be discussed by Parliament when its support exceeds 100,000 valid signatures. Hence, such petitions can fuel the public debate, but often don’t […]

Big Citizen is watching you

An independent website monitoring the activities of Austrian representatives in the national and European parliaments went online in November. The site www.meineabgeordneten.at aims to promote transparency and prevent corruption by Austrian politicians. “It is not supposed to be a platform for dirt and gossip,” site editor Marion Breitschopf told the Austrian weekly Falter, “as many […]

Parliamentary introspection

The Austrian parliament unanimously passed a resolution establishing an inquiry committee (Untersuchungs-Ausschuss) to investigate a number of government corruption scandals from the last decade. Before the vote, the aim of showing unity between all five parties by submitting the proposal together was frustrated by the Green Party, which withdrew in protest about alleged lobbying payments […]

Swift Resolution is More Important than Any Statute of Limitation

One can argue about the sense or nonsense of statutes of limitation. But the longer ago the crime, the less use a conviction is to the victim, or to society. Certainly, it is tempting to call for extended statutes. Who wants to appear to be protecting alleged child abusers? But before we join in the […]

Climate Failure

Continuing its dismal record as an environmental champion, Austria has failed once again to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. According to the Umweltbundesamt (Federal Environmental Agency), Austria’s 2012 goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels will most likely not even be met by 2020. If current trends continue, 2020 emissions will […]

Budgetary Giveaway

In the Columbus Shopping Center in Favoritenstrasse on Saturday, Sept. 27, the late weekend shoppers were hurrying to get their groceries or a quick cup of coffee as a crowd of several dozen people, gathered around a small podium by the escalator. There were two presenters on stage, right in front of a wooden cow. […]

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