Grand Coalition? – Elephant round: All against all and every man for himself

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Not much was left of the solidarity: in the elephant round of “Krone” and Puls 24, the five top candidates gave each other nothing shortly before the elections. And the analysis also brought a clear result: the signs point to a grand coalition – if the will of the voters is there.

“Excuse me if you had to listen to that,” said Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner after an attack by Udo Landbauer in the “Krone” elephant round. In the Ostarrichi Hall of the St. Pöltner manor, however, not such bad words as the provincial head’s narrator would have you assume. And that’s despite Landbauer managing to question Green leader Helga Krismer’s “climate fitness” because she was (presumably) wearing “made in China” sneakers. But one after the other.

From inflation to the acute energy crisis
All the top candidates initially put their energy into answering questions about inflation. With the debate about the sharp price increases, politicians were more willing to enter into the discussion. “We live in a time when the cost of living is higher than ever before,” said the head of state. From the point of view of the other candidates, she is also partly guilty. NEOS frontwoman Indra Collini accused Mikl-Leitner that some compatriots would receive more money than their electricity bills would cover. Instead, it would be better invested in the energy transition.

That brings us to the next topic. The candidates actually almost surprisingly agreed on the content. Actually – because Krismer portrayed farmers as “climate deniers”, and also the interpretation of two graphic signs was a subject of much debate.

Heated ORF discussion as an emotional climax
It got really emotional when it came to the “ORF Affair” – the “Krone” reported several times. Landbauer literally accused Mikl-Leitner of “sneaking over” the 2018 election victory “through a tussle” with then-editor-in-chief Robert Ziegler. In his criticism, SPÖ boss Franz Schnabl referred to the head of the investigative committee, who in turn predicted a test result “that would shake the ORF”. Schnabl also spoke of meetings between Ziegler and Mikl-Leitner, at which ÖVP-friendly coverage was agreed. The governor firmly rejected this. The bickering will hopefully come to an end with the election on Jan. 29, she said.

Mikl-Leitner also showed little understanding for the attacks of the other candidates. The underlying tenor was that such a thing should not happen among women. The head of state also put forward this argument in the course of the advertising affair. She criticized Collini for not acknowledging the decisions of independent bodies, thereby also slapping director of audit Edith Goldeband.

“Togetherness” was yesterday
The final question about the merits of the respective top candidates sparked the much-cited (and briefly forgotten) coexistence in the country. Landbauer testified to Mikl-Leitner’s “long political” career and perseverance. The governor of the state loves his stories about his grandson on the private Schnabl. The state deputy appreciates Krismer himself for working with an “open mind”. According to Krismer, the Greens and Landbauer share a love of skiing. “He’s still here, despite several affairs,” she added. Collini, in turn, was described by Krismer as a “bundle of energy”.

The analysis round in the video:

Experts see opportunities for a grand coalition after the elections
“Much is at stake!” Hardly a statement by ÖVP governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner has been heard more often lately. It was all the more striking that he was completely absent from the elephant round “Krone”. Overall, university professor Kathrin Stainer-Hämmerle missed a final mobilization by the ÖVP boss. Mikl-Leitner only got emotional during the ORF debate, the “tar point of the ÖVP”.

Like “Krone” editor-in-chief Klaus Herrmann and “Salzburg Krone” boss Claus Pandí, the political scientist also believes that a comeback of the former grand coalition in Lower Austria is possible. “I see opportunities to get back to that model,” she said. This is how the experts explained the rather reserved appearance of the SPÖ candidate Franz Schnabl. “He was so hesitant because he wants to remain a state morale. And of course you would rather do that under Mikl-Leitner than under Udo Landbauer,” explains Herrmann.

How will the SPÖ perform?
The group agreed that “the most exciting thing” would be election night at the SPÖ. “I expect that from the middle of next week there will be a presidential debate in the federal SPÖ,” said Pandí. Despite the expected clear victory of the ÖVP, the election is by no means overrated with regard to federal politics.

Source: Krone

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