Elections in Lower Austria: ÖVP loses approval, FPÖ increases

Status: 01/29/2023 8:40 PM

On the campaign trail, the FPÖ pushed the ruling ÖVP party ahead of it – now the second strongest force in state elections in Lower Austria. The ÖVP loses the absolute majority.

In the state elections in Lower Austria, the ruling party managed to assert itself as the stronger force – albeit with a significant loss of votes by about ten percentage points. According to forecasts, the conservative party fell to 39.9 percent, thus losing the absolute majority in the state parliament and possibly in the government as well.

The right-wing FPÖ party won 24.2 percent of the vote. This is her best result in Lower Austria to date. The leader of the state party was Udo Landbauer in the election campaign He repeatedly asserts that the party stands for an end to the “ÖVP system”. Landbauer meant the decades-long dominance of conservatives. He also blamed the ÖVP, led by Chancellor Karl Nehammer, for the fact that the number of asylum seekers in Austria rose sharply in 2022.

“The Austrian Freedom Party succeeded in turning this election into a federal election,” said Lower Austrian party leader and Prime Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner. The ÖVP, which had recently been saddled with corruption investigations over the so-called Ibiza scandal, achieved its worst result in Lower Austria since 1945. However, on the evening of the election, Mikkel Leitner ruled out resigning.

Global issues mattered in the election

According to forecasts, the SPÖ fell behind the FPÖ by 20.6 percent. The Green Party received 7.6 percent of the vote, and the liberal Neuss Party received 6.7 percent. According to the polls, 1.3 million eligible voters were mainly concerned with national and global issues such as inflation, immigration, environment and climate.

“Corruption has been voted on,” Christian Hafnecker, the FPÖ’s federal party director, said on the evening of the election. “This is the beginning,” he added, with state elections approaching in Carinthia in March and Salzburg in April. For weeks, the FPÖ has held the top spot in nationwide polls – ahead of the SPÖ and the ÖVP. The next federal election is not scheduled until 2024.


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