Political networking – VdB at the coronation: “Good opportunity to chat”


He describes the coronation as “interesting” and a “good opportunity to chat”. In this interview you can read what Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen has to say about his visit to the King in London.

Crown: Mr President, how was it?
Alexander Van der Bellen: I said the day before the coronation: I’m a Republican, but I’m still here. And now I’m an even more staunch Republican. It was okay, an interesting…commitment, we’d say. But the association with so much religion is no longer, I would say, 21st century.

Why are you even more of a staunch Republican today, what caused that?
See, every country chooses its own form of government, some are republics, some are monarchies. Today we spoke to another European king, who said: “It’s very different for me, I’ll go to parliament and be sworn in, make a speech and then I’ll leave.” That reminded me of the procedure with the Austrian Federal President. You can also do it completely differently. In England it is a kind of ritual that is 1000 years old.

Do you feel admiration or surprise?
Well. I knew roughly what to expect. You get a thick pamphlet that tells you who says what and when to get up and when to sit down. So that’s all a perfect record – a mixture of admiration and wonder.

How was the mood in Westminster Abbey, how does it feel to be at the coronation?
Well, you pay attention. There is a booklet with everything in it. This is very useful, otherwise I would have only understood half of it because the English spoken is very old-fashioned. I think these crowns must be very heavy. You have to be careful that nothing happens – and walk very slowly. The coronation also has its amusing sides.

What did you see, did you have good seats?
No, well, it was like the funeral. They were not bad seats in themselves, French President Macron sat behind me, Brazilian President Lula da Silva next to me. The President of the Seychelles moved two rows away. I don’t know how the seats are distributed, maybe a lottery? (laughs)

Very prominent neighbours. And the day before there was already a reception at Buckingham Palace. Is such a coronation also a political network meeting?
Absolute! That’s one of the main reasons you go there as a Republican. This is a good opportunity to meet or get to know each other, to have a chat. Yesterday I didn’t see everyone, today I spoke to a few.

About what? Small talk or major political issues?
About Miscellaneous – how do you like it, how do you like it? I spoke with the President of Albania and the President of Moldova about the progress of the war and the situation in Moldova.

Source: Krone


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