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Austria: Not even refugee crisis could bring the ultra-right full victory, SocDems still rule Vienna

13.10.2015 5:07
Michael Häupl defended the left-wing victory in the 2015 elections in Vienna. (Photo: SPÖ).
Michael Häupl defended the left-wing victory in the 2015 elections in Vienna. (Photo: SPÖ).

The Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) has won 39.4 % of the vote over its competitors, the ultra-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), and has therefore won the regional elections in Vienna. The FPÖ won 32.1 % of the vote, 6.4 % more than in 2010.  

The ultra-right bet on voters' concerns over the current influx of asylum-seekers to Europe, winning 35 out of 100 seats in the regional legislature. Vienna is considered a bastion of the left, and the SPÖ has governed there continuously since the end of WWII.  

Compared to their 2010 results,  the Socialists dropped 4.9 %, losing five of their current 49 seats. This year's results are the worst for the party since 1945.

The Green Party ended up in third place after being the SPÖ's coalition partner. They won 11.1 % of the vote.  

The conservative Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) came in fourth with 8.7 % of the vote. They lost significantly compared to the previous elections, falling to below 10 % for the first time ever.  

A new arrival in the city leadership is the New Austria Party (NEOS), with 6 % of the vote. Even though the ultra-right did not dominate, support for them was still high.

The party's very best results were achieved in the Viennese elections in 1996, when, beneath the direction of Jörg Haider, they won 28 % of the vote. The difference in the percentage of votes won by the FPÖ compared to the Socialists was reduced to a record low by more than half compared to the previous elections.  

The Austrian media have unanimously labeled the Viennese election the most important regional poll of the year. The main election topic unexpectedly became the question of migration, which is why the FPÖ made such gains.  

The ultra-right party is sharply against migration and its chair even recently demanded the construction of a razor-wire fence at the Austrian border, following the Hungarian model. The Socialists take a positive approach to asylum-seekers.

Of Vienna's more than 1.8 million residents, 1 143 076 are registered voters. Fully 49 % of the inhabitants of Vienna are of so-called "alien origin". 

ČTK, jal, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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