FIGAROVOX / ANALYSIS – Elected with 50.3% of the votes against the candidate of the FPÖ, the ecologist Alexander Van der Bellen will be the next president of Austria. For Jean Sévillia, the Austrian case is representative of changes that alter the balance of Europe.
Associate Editor at Figaro Magazine , essayist and historian, Jean Sévillia is also a specialist in Austria.
the ecologist Alexander Van der Bellen will be the next President of the Republic of Austria. Until the first round of voting on April 24, not one in 100 000 people in Europe knew the name of the outgoing president whose term ends (this is the socialist Heinz Fischer). To listen to the speech made in recent days by experts that one wonders if one day they put foot in this country, speech relayed by media dévident loop automatic thought, the successor to President Fischer was to be the savior or conversely the gravedigger of Austrian democracy.
is it too much to learn and think? The first shock, authentic, was the elimination in the first round of candidates of the ÖVP and the SPÖ, the Conservative Party and the Socialist Party share power since 1945 and who even practiced together through coalition governments for almost forty years. Domination reinforced by the system of Proporz and Sozialpartnerschaft which allowed both parties, for seventy years, to distribute all positions in public life. Now that system, challenged by environmentalists left and right by the FPÖ, the Austrians want more. Especially with the time, the SPÖ having repudiated Marxism of its founders and the ÖVP have waived any Christian reference, the two parties have come to commune in the same social-liberal model and pro-European. A consensus has reached its limits since, for fifteen and twenty years, the margins of Austrian politics, each vote, gaining ground – except in Vienna, thanks to the patronage of the very lapped socialist town hall. The result of the presidential 2016, with an ecologist and a representative of the Freedom Party in the second round, was part therefore in a logic at work for a long time.
Austrian environmentalists resemble their European counterparts: the label covers all the trends from the ideologues of the extreme left (green outside, red inside) to sincere environmentalists
the Austrian environmentalists resemble their European counterparts: the label covers all the trends from the ideologues of the extreme left (green outside, red inside) to the sincere defenders the environment. With this distinction – which is not a minor – as the Austrian political life is calmer, more dispassionate, for historical reasons, but also because in a small country (8.6 million inhabitants), everyone knows more or less personally. Alexander Van der Bellen, civilized university professor, will not make the revolution in Vienna, but between the Hofburg, in his person, a man with a strong anchor to the left.
If the historical origins of FPÖ undoubtedly lie at the extreme right, the analogies must be handled with care in a country that has one of the strictest anti-Nazi and Holocaust denial laws in Europe, legislation is not disputed by the FPÖ. The concept of the Austrian nation, prerogative of the conservative right into the 1940s (during the war still, the Austrian Socialists in exile would be well seen citizens of a socialist Germany) ended up being built by all of society Austrian FPÖ voters included. Norbert Hofer campaigned on Austrian patriotism, feeling that anchor on Euroscepticism and the anxiety of his countrymen to migratory flows through Europe and the policy of Angela Merkel has accelerated. The FPÖ ruled Austria at the federal level with the conservative ÖVP between 2000 and 2006: Europe, which had imposed sanctions, were to lift after a few months when it became necessary to notice that Austria Austria remained … in Burgenland region Norbert Hofer, the FPÖ defeated candidate for president, the Socialists govern with elected FPÖ. For the analogy at all costs amateurs, it would be as if the PS and the FN governed together a French region. Inconceivable? So it is that the analogy is false.
This is 16 000 votes except that the election was decided. Norbert Hofer will not be president, but warned his constituents: “This campaign is an investment for the future”
Otto von Habsburg, whose head had been. put a price on Hitler and whose followers were sent to Dachau after the Anschluss in April 1938, was not joking with Nazism. There are about fifteen years, I had asked about Jörg Haider. The heir to the Austrian monarchy, which had remained a keen observer of the political life of his country, had defined the then leader of the FPÖ as “a populist demagogue.” No less, no more. This judgment, in my view, remains relevant, even if the current leaders of the FPÖ did much to smooth their image.
Van der Bellen elected, Christian Kern, invested socialist chancellor last week, n is not threatened in the short term: he will rule with knotted coalition between his party and the conservative ÖVP. But this is only a reprieve. The next parliamentary elections in the country are scheduled for 2018. What will happen then if the two government parties are collapsing as they collapsed presidential?
Those who rejoice aujourd ‘hui noisily election in Vienna of an environmentalist president – who will soon forget his name – had better be careful. It is close to 16 000 votes that the election was decided. Norbert Hofer will not be president, but warned his constituents: “This campaign is an investment for the future.” Those interested in what takes place in the depths of the continent would do well to continue to monitor what is happening in Austria. It is not for nothing that this country is in the center of Europe: it is a receptacle of all that is happening
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