Samstag, 14. Oktober 2017

A commentary of a foreign observer about the Chancellor elections in Austria 2017.

This weekend there will be elections in Austria to elect the chancellor. As in any other country, it won’t be easy to choose who will be representing the country internationally and have direct influence on our pockets. I can only give a neutral opinion without having the right and obligation to vote in the country where my sons were born.

An introduction to the candidates:

The reds from the socialist party (SPÖ) are represented by the current chancellor Christian Kern, who was not democratically elected but because of his contacts with the red party. The ex administrator of the Austrian Railways ÖBB was recruited by the red party in order to replace the resigning chancellor Werner Faymann, who stepped out  when he was no longer able to deal with the coalition partner. After a vacation, he restarted his career in a high position at the UN in parallel to his personal business. 
It is likely the previous experience as manager from a state company that is able to internationally compete with others that gives C. Kern some points in favour. With this experience he pursues a very socialist ideal, as its party requires him to do, to please the financial needs  of the working class of his country.This is an asset his opponents might lack. 

Sebastian Kurz, commands the turquoise party ÖVP. Since his arrival to the party he turned all upside down including the traditional black color of the party. He obtained unconditional support since the ÖVP had no other candidate to fill the boots of his also resigning vice-chancellor and party leader Reinhold Mitterlehner, who not being able to work together with the red party, decided to continue his career outside of politics (Seems to be difficult to work together as politician in Austria, there is little persevereance and big opposition).
Sebastian Kurz, being the stereotype of an ideal leader: tall, handsome and good speaker; heads the party still named the “blacks” because the media are still reluctant to refer the party as the “turquoise”. Unfortunately the propaganda of his party is similar, if not identical, to that of the right party FPÖ, which main argument for a better Austria is the reduction of immigration. The very short age of S. Kurz, to my opinion, is a disadvantage to exercise a job of such an importance (He is 31 years old). Nevertheless, S. Kurz learned quite well how to communicate (body and spoken language) to convince the masses and this helped him to position himself in his current and previous jobs as foreign and integration minister respectively.

Heinz Christian Strache, leads the blue right party FPÖ and as one of its main goals is to reduce “islamization” in Austria, being other problems, to my understanding, neglected in his agenda.
As an immigrant and self nominated “tolerant” I can only reject the presents that his campaign give away in the streets, although my kids would gladly take them. (photo: 
During the presidential elections, the FPÖ has demonstrated support in towns and small cities where, ironically, multiculturality is not really observed and the immigration rates are low enough compared to big cities such as Vienna. This unmasks the unnecessary fear to immigrants and refugees in some parts of Austria. 

The pink Neos are led by Matthias Strolz, from whose campaign I could mainly notice that he tends to get overly upset and resented the moment of sustaining a debate with other candidates. His style is likely not ideal for a chancellor of a republic.

If one wishes to choose a party with alternative ideas, maybe is the “green party” the one to elect. As its name indicates, they would of course take care of the environment as one of their priorities, however, they do not have much acceptation. The main candidate for the green party, Ulrike Lunacek, would likely be a good representant of Austria abroad, but she is not as popular as her party camerade Alexander van der Bellen who won in the last presidential elections (thanks to his election in the big cities, see previous figure).

This Sunday I can only impatiently wait to see the results and afterwards reproach or congratulate friends and colleages that were born in this colorful country. One thing is for sure, this election can’t be as bad as that in an english speaking country on the other side of the atlantic ocean.

Reference from pictures:

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