Austrian Snap Election: Support Collapses for Far-Right, Tainted by Corruption Scandal

Written by | Tuesday, October 1st, 2019
@Eubulletin

The scandal-ridden Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) hemorrhaged about 30 percent of its votes while the Greens attained impressive gains in Sunday’s early general election in Austria. The country’s former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s People’s Party (ÖVP) emerged victorious, increasing its vote share to 38.4 percent. It is now weighing up its options on potential coalition partners to form a government.
The snap election took place following the ‘Ibizagate’ scandal which saw Vice-Chancellor and former far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) leader Heinz-Christian Strache resign from government. Strache was caught on video promising government contracts to young woman pretending to be a niece of a Russian oligarch in Ibiza as part of an undercover sting by a civil society group. Following Strache’s resignation in June, Kurz’s government lost a vote of no-confidence, prompting the Chancellor to call for a snap election.
The election has been hailed as a major victory for pro-European parties, which managed to increase their vote share, while the far-right FPÖ lost nine percent down to 17.3 percent, though the party could still be asked by Kurz to join him in government. It was a good night for the Greens, whose support more than tripled, securing 12.4 percent of the vote. “I am delighted about this fantastic election result,” said MEP Monika Vana, Head of Delegation of the Austrian Greens, stressing that “the Austrian Greens are now the strongest Green Party in Europe.” Outgoing European Commissioner President Jean-Claude Juncker hailed Kurz’s victory by wishing him “every success in forming a stable government with a pro-European course. For the upcoming common challenges, our European Union needs a strong Austrian voice.”

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