European elections, episode 2: Austria

Here comes the report from Irmgard Seidler, General Secretary European Green Seniors:

We are a small country, having  only 20 out of a total of 720 seats in EU Parliament:   

Rightwing FPÖ  opposition party:  6 seats 25,4 % votes gained 3 seats

Right leaning economy party  ÖVP  coalition party:     5 seats  24,5 % votes   lost 2 seats

Social center party  SPÖ   opposition party:  5 seats    23,2 % votes

Ecology party  GRÜNE  coalition party:    2 seats   11,1 % votes    lost 1 seat

Center economy party  NEOS  opposition party:     2 seats    10,1 % votes    gained 1 seat

NEW Communist-Social party  KPÖ:    0 seats   3 % votes    0 seats

Our campaign started with a list of new, mainly young candidates. Only Thomas Waitz  since 2017 in EU Parliament,   is a seasoned, highly respected candidate .  His expertise is in  ecology, animal welfare, foreign policy. 

During the campaign only the youngest of the candidates, 23-year old Lena Schilling (former FFF)  and listed Nr. 1 received high publicity. Unfortunately personal disputes became public knowledge, which called top Green Party members and State President to her defence.  All this did not help to gain voters confidence in our party and to a certain extent raised eye brows within the party.   In the end Thomas  Waitz received a very high number of priority votes and was confirmed by become delegation leader.   A very smart move.  

More positive facts:  In Vienna two suburbs had very high votes for Greens, Burgenland gained a modest increase.

The campaign itself centered exclusively on ecology.  No attention was given to senior themes, which is not surprising, as we have never been given public attention by the party.   We are working on it to change this. 

As a spectacular move – after the election – our Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler last week used her vote at EU-ministerial level to tilt the highly contested EU Renaturalisation Law to a positive result.  This brought very high approval rates from many sections of Austrian society. 

Our next election is our National Assembly election, which is  with 29th September, right around the corner.  Whether senior issues will become election theme this time, I am not hopefull.


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