Violent verbal attack at the SPÖ Lower Austria party conference: Franz Schnabl, who was confirmed as party chairman on Saturday, drew a comparison between the ÖVP and the Russian regime and its mock referendum in eastern Ukraine in his acceptance speech.
Exaggerated phrasing is often used at party conferences – not least Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who has already been criticized for several quotes (“alcohol or psychotropic drugs”), can sing a little tune of this. The Styrian SPÖ country chief Schnabl now made a special faux pas.
Comment “right for the press”
Towards the end of the event, Schnabl spoke of the 89 percent result, justifying it with the SPÖ being a “fair party and a democratic party”. To add “immediately for the press as a comment” – apparently deliberately: “That also distinguishes us – because we are not wrong and pretend – from election results that are made in Graz or in Donetsk.”
There was only muffled laughter from the audience. Schnabl then continued with a “Yes, that’s true”. 89 percent is “a respectable, a great result”. Among other things, the red provincial party leader had previously stated that he wanted to “drive the federal government to hell” and put an end to the absolute of the VP in Lower Austria with a positive and hopeful policy.
With the Donetsk equation, Schnabl clearly alluded to the unanimous result (100 percent) of the ÖVP party conference in Graz in May, at which Chancellor Karl Nehammer was officially elected as the new ÖVP leader – which Schnabl finds as dubious as the mock referendums in the east of the country. Ukraine, which Russian President Vladimir Putin is using to justify the recent annexation.
ÖVP Secretary-General demands apology
The indignation of the ÖVP was not long in coming. The People’s Party published the relevant passage including subtitles on Twitter, the new Secretary General Christian Stocker muttered: “This is a completely intolerable and unworthy mistake. This shows the character weakness of Franz Schnabl, who on the one hand has no empathy for a country which has been badly affected by war, and on the other hand has no respect for political competitors.”
Stocker also thanked the SPÖ deputies, who, with few exceptions, did not reward Schnabl with applause or laughter, and finally said: “Franz Schnabl must immediately apologize for his statement.”
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