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Phew… dodged a bullet this time… May 23, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

…in Austria.

Austria narrowly avoided becoming the first EU country to elect a far-right candidate as head of state, as postal ballots decided a knife-edge presidential run-off vote in favour of his environmentalist rival.

After an election that had been too close to call last night, a count of the absentee votes this morning pushed 72-year-old Alexander van der Bellen past anti-immigration Freedom Party rival Norbert Hofer and into the largely ceremonial post of president.

The FPO is no stranger in all these issues (though I wasn’t aware, or I forgot, that it was in government with the SPO in 1983 in a somewhat less hard-edged right wing iteration).

But there’s a deeper question here. At some point we will see a far right candidate take a non-executive Presidency, or worse again a PM position, in some European state – perhaps Austria next time around (though interesting what the winning candidate represented). What is to be done, as the question goes, in that situation?


1. Tomboktu - May 23, 2016

When the FPO got into government in the early 2000s, the EU governemnts fell over themselves to do something, and passed the EU ‘Race’ Directive, prohibiting discrimination on grounds of race or ethnicity both in employment and in goods and services in order to demonstrate that the EU ‘wasn’t like that’.

I wonder if the election of an FPO President today would have prompted similar reaction. Somehow, I doubt it.


WorldbyStorm - May 23, 2016

I fear you’re right.


Ed - May 24, 2016

The pre-Syriza Greek government of Samaras was far, far worse than that Austrian coalition, it was one of the ugliest, nastiest racist administrations Europe has seen since 1945, and every thing it did had the full endorsement of the EU.


2. CL - May 23, 2016

The Right reaction to the depredations of neoliberalism appears much stronger than any response from the Left.


WorldbyStorm - May 23, 2016

In a way, but it may be a bit shallow, in so far as adherence to the right is flaky, and even in Austria doesn’t necessarily translate into executive power.On the other hand, yes, in so far as left alternatives are thin on the ground in terms of bidding for state power.


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