Showdown in Vienna

It will be a close race in Vienna and I must admit it is a daunting thought that an ultra right-wing politician may have the support of a vast majority of the citizens of my beloved Vienna, but he hasn't won yet

Showdown in Vienna:

On the left the ruling mayor Mr. Häupl, on the right his opponent Mr. Strache

 

In less than a week elections will be held in my home town of Vienna, Austria. In these elections the city council and the mayor will be elected. Vienna, with a population of nearly two million and the largest German speaking city after Berlin, has received some attention in light of the current refugee crisis; it doesn’t often make it into the British news. By now you may be wondering what relevance this regional government election somewhere off in continental Europa has, but let‘s look a bit closer.

Actually, it is quite a showdown. With almost all of the parties reduced to political irrelevance, there are only two men left standing. On the one hand, the ruling socialist mayor, whose party has governed the city since 1945. On the other hand, his opponent Mr. Strache, the leader of the ultra right-wing Freedom Party, which in the recent past has increased its votes in one election after the other all over the country. Andboy, this race will be a close one. What we see in Vienna, an ultra right-wing party rapidly gaining popularity, is happening all over Europe. But as much as the French Front National or UKIP in the UK are being talked about, they’re still political outsiders with them having one and two seats respectively in the parliaments of their countries. Not so over in Austria where no one dares to predict the result for the election in Vienna. On a national scale the Freedom Party has long surpassed all other parties in recent polls. So you may be wondering, what‘s going on in Austria? Are there too many uneducated people? Is the population radicalizing? Are some even trying to find answers in the nation’s dark past?

The answer may be a bit less dramatic. It is a fact that many people believe the established parties are simply not doing their job. They no longer believe in them and many are looking for alternatives. Populist parties, such as the Freedom Party, often have answers many people, fed up with the current political system, want to hear. The only thing their voters are forgetting is that with a such party in power not much will change. The refugee crisis will go on, the economic crisis will go on. Populist parties have simple answers to complex problems, so most likely things will even get worse. It will be a close race in Vienna and I must admit it is a daunting thought that an ultra right-wing politician may have the support of a vast majority of the citizens of my beloved Vienna, but he hasn’t won yet. And even if he does, he will have to form a coalition, which will make things a lot harder for him. I will write about the results after the elections but until than let‘s hope for the best!

 

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