Tomorrow’s election in Austria remains wide open. With just hours to go until voting starts, one in three people are said to be undecided about whom to support. The political situation which led to this early election does not help. The Social Democrats, now led by Werner Faymann, are fighting for votes on the record of a failed coalition.
So too the Conservative People’s Party, under
Wilhelm Molterer, the Social Democrats’ former partners, with whom they managed to rule for just 18 months.
They are neck-and-neck in the opinion polls, but neither is likely to secure an outright win, and therefore a parliamentary majority.
Into the breach, the Far Right.
Joerg Haider says he is a changed character after three years as a regional governor. After being part of the 2000 coalition, as leader of the Freedom Party, alongside the Conservatives, this time around he has a new party, the “Alliance for the future of Austria”.
The new leader of the Freedom Party is 39-year-old Heinz-Christian Strache, or HC. Between Haider and Strache they could get a quarter of the votes, and almost certainly a quarter of the under 30 vote.
The conservatives may come calling again though they’re said to have reservations.
An event to mark the end of the Freedom Party’s campaign degenerated into violence and arrests.
The last time a Conservative-cum-Far-Right government ruled Austria the country was placed under EU sanctions.