Austrian students and various left-wing groups have taken to the streets of Vienna and Gratz to complain at what they see as their new Social Democrat prime minister’s broken promises. In both cities, marchers displayed banners calling for a “real education policy” after Alfred Gusenbauer decided to maintain tuition fees introduced by his Conservative predecessors.
Some students carried placards offering to sell their kidneys for the 363 euro fee per term. Others are furious Gusenbauer has gone back on his election pledge to scrap the purchase of 18 Eurofighters for the airforce.
He tried to placate the young today by offering to personally give free cramming lessons in a Vienna school every week. It is an offer that has bewildered some, while others say he should leave the job to people who know how to do it. The student union’s leader called it “populist and cynical”.
Gusenbauer became prime minister this week after a long and painful process of coalition building with the right. He has a political science doctorate, but may not be allowed to teach as Austrian law forbids politics in educational establishments.