A newly-formed alliance between the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and the anti-invasion Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) to rule the city of Graz has shaken the establishment and is likely to have major national political repercussions.
According to a report by Austrian state broadcaster ORF, the ÖVP and FPÖ have today announced their “agreement for government” after several weeks of negotiations between the ÖVP—which won the most votes, but not an absolute majority—and other parties to form a coalition.
In the most recent elections, held on February 5, the ÖVP took 47,639 votes (37.9 percent) of the vote.
The Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ) came second, taking 25,645 votes, or 20.34 percent of the vote. The city is traditionally a stronghold of the communists.
Third-placed was the FPÖ, which polled 19,998 votes, or 15.86 percent. Fourth placed was the Socialist Party of Austria (SPÖ), which took 12,668 votes (10.05 percent), followed by the crypto-communist Greens, who took 13,254 votes (10.51 percent).
Previously, Graz has been ruled by a coalition between the ÖVP and the SPÖ—as is the case currently at central government level, but the poor showing of the SPÖ this last time has made that route impossible, as together they do not have enough votes to form a majority city government.
Efforts to reach an agreement with the communists failed after that party made absurd demands over a local power plant. The communists and the Greens were only informed about the new alliance just prior to today’s press conference, and were reportedly livid at the news.
The alliance is likely to have a national impact, particularly within the SPÖ, which currently rules Austria in coalition with the ÖVP.
The SPÖ are fanatical opponents of the FPÖ, and previously, all the parties had a recently-formulated informal pact of no dealings with the FPÖ over that party’s opposition to the mass nonwhite invasion of Austria.
Now that this cordon sanitaire has been breached, the SPÖ will likely be looking at the ÖVP commitment to the ruling national coalition anew, and the tensions that the Graz alliance will cause will reverberate into the Chancellor’s office.
The alliance could also be a portend of how the results may pan out at the next national Austrian legislative elections, due in 2018. If, as expected, the FPÖ emerges as the single biggest party, but short of a ruling majority, then a coalition government with the ÖVP now seems more possible following the Graz breakthrough.
The last time that the FPÖ was in any sort of coalition was as a junior partner in 2000. At that time, Israel withdrew its ambassador from Austria in protest and the European Union placed official sanctions against Austria.