Ballots have been cast today, 24th of November 2002 in Austria. The country voted a new parliament, called Nationalrat (roughly "National Assembly"), the strongest party of which will usually be given the permission by the President to form the new Government. The election acutally caused the greatest shift of votes ever, completely undoing the shocking outcome of the Austrian Elections 1999. As it seems at present, the FPÖ, the so-called Freedom-Party, whose former leader Jörg Haider came to fame for being a right-wing Anit-Semite, lost tremendously, and now only hold 10 per cent of all votes.
ÖVP (christian conservatives)   42,3  (26,9)
SPÖ (social democrats)             36,51  (33,2)
FPÖ (freedom party)                  10,01  (26,9)
Die Grünen (green party)           9,47  (7,4)
All others               1,71
That equals the following split of the 183 seats in parliament:
ÖVP 79 seats
SPÖ 69 seats
FPÖ 18 seats
Grü 17 seats
The first time since 36 years of socialist lead, they have to return the majority in parliament to the ÖVP, who probably will return to their coalition with the FPÖ, Jörg Haiders party. The already ruled the country the past two and a half years, but this election was nevertheless the biggest voter shifting in history. The freedom party, who mostly attracted the working classes with populist promises and harsh government critizism where mostly lost to the party of coalition partner and chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel. He now holds almost half of the seats in parliament, which gives him a strong position for negotiations. The austrian political system, ment to be stable, now wants him to seek out a partner for a coalition.
The question is now, social democrats or the freedom party, a question that will be answered in the following weeks. He also may try a miniority goverment, in which the ÖVP, in lack of a majority, would have to seek a partner for each law they want to enforce.
The silent losers of the elections are the Green Party who wanted to be 3rd and break the majority of the old government, but made a rather weak performance and only got 9%, and the Liberal party, who didn't make the re-entry to the parliament since they lost their seats in 1999.
After all, this was a conservative turn-around in Austria.
Sources: http://derstandard.at; ORF - Austrian TV
Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP) again decided to go into a coalition with the FPÖ.
Last updated on March 17, 2003