Many “system opponents” – International press on BP election: “Unusual”

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International newspapers reported on Tuesday about the results of the federal presidential elections in Austria. The victory of the incumbent Alexander Van der Bellen is assessed as solid, but not as excellent. Commentators regard the relatively high popularity of its challengers as evidence of widespread political frustration. In particular, the result of the founder of the Beer Party, Dominik Wlazny, is highlighted.

“tageszeitung” (Berlin): “With Alexander Van der Bellen, Austria voted for stability. (…) Due to the high density of opponents, there has been a lot of nervousness in his camp lately. (…) Walter Rosenkranz, candidate of the right-wing FPÖ, was about 18 percent below his party’s poll figures. (…) Rosencrantz, for his part, had competition that would have “fished in the same electoral pond.” (…) The founder of the satirical project Bierpartie reached 20 percent nationwide among the over 30s. All in all, he took the respectable third place with 8.4 percent. This shows that the transition from a fun project to a serious political force has caught on with voters.”

“Süddeutsche Zeitung” (Munich): “Even the first election that brought him to office in 2016 was unusual; the FPÖ, whose candidate was narrowly defeated, had successfully filed a constitutional complaint about minor irregularities in the way the elections had been conducted. This time, it was not so much the type of election victory that was unusual as the election campaign: the incumbent party was up against six candidates, none of whom – with the exception of the FPÖ candidate – ran for an established party. Three right-wing candidates who presented themselves as ‘anti-system’ and ‘enemies of the establishment’ walked along. However, the real surprise in the end was the rock musician and doctor Dominik Wlazny, aka Marco Pogo, who finished in second place in the capital Vienna by just under 12 percent ahead of the FPÖ candidate, and was mainly chosen by people under 30.”

“Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”: “Reliability, stability and good experience with his first term in office were important drivers for his voters, according to polls after the election. In fact, Van der Bellen had led the country through turbulent times. (…) Van der Bellen was not satisfied with his 56 percent for nothing, because he will not need more in the Vienna Hofburg for the next six years. He was especially worried that his potential voters would stay at home out of convenience because everything had to be clear anyway. But compared to previous presidents who are running for a second term, Van der Bellen’s result is not brilliant. Pastor Heinz Fischer got nearly 80 percent when he was re-elected in 2010. Even if the circumstances were different in each case, as an indicator of a higher degree of polarization, the finding should point to.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung: “All of Van der Bellen’s opponents were totally unfit for the office of Federal President. And yet they received 44 percent of the vote. This shows a dramatic level of frustration and anger towards the political elite. Given the turbulence of the In recent years, this is not surprising, but Van der Bellen has also apparently failed to restore confidence.The pandemic, the war in Ukraine and economic unrest have widened the rifts across Europe and shattered certainties. But in Austria, every crisis is highly exploited for partisan ends. Here, Van der Bellen is challenged. In his second term, he must use his authority more often and advocate greater respect for democracy and the rule of law. If it is not possible to reinforcing political credibility makes instability permanent.”

“Südwestpresse” (Ulm): “The election shows what a deep chasm runs through the Alpine republic. The country faces similarly enormous problems as Germany: with energy shortages, inflation, the war in Ukraine and the Corona policy. The 35- punk musician and doctor Michael (sic!) Wlazny achieved remarkable success with his ‘Beer Party’, a left-wing anarchist, coming in third with 8.4 percent of the vote. He appealed mainly to those young voters who Greens and the Social Democratic SPÖ had turned their backs. Van der Bellen was not a candidate of the hearts, he seems too serious, seems gnarled and unapproachable. But he convinced the majority that, as an experienced politician who has chaired the the Vienna Hofburg, is in the best position to help the country out of the crisis.”

“Večer” (Maribor): “You heard from many commentators on Sunday evening that Van der Bellen’s victory brought relief to all of Austria and much of Europe and the world. In this conflict-ridden world, which is faced with all kinds of difficult trials due to the war in Ukraine, Van der Bellen embodies tranquility, stability, predictability and caution. In reality, his opponents were no match for him.”

“Večer” continues: “But appearances can be deceiving. Van der Bellen was re-elected with the lowest endorsement among Austrian presidents in 70 years. His right-wing competitors collectively received more than a third of the votes, but most importantly, many young people did not vote for Van der Bellen. Why? Perhaps because a month ago, in the manner of an old man, he answered a journalist’s question about inflation that will affect young people: you have to ‘bite your teeth’. And that cynical response – Russia or not – could be a metaphor for many a contemporary European political leader.”

Source: Krone

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