In a first reaction Communist Party of Austria’s chair Mirko Messner made the following statement:
The victory of the candidate of the Freedom party – FPÖ – in the second round can be prevented – by maximum mobilization of voters for Alexander van der Bellen, Greens. For this aim the Communists must contribute as well! The breaking up of the traditional Austrian party system that is shown in the results of the first round of the presidential elections and the swing to the right is a manifestation of the social and political crisis, that ask for a profound answer to the social, political and moral crisis of our country. The Austrian left, within and outside the Communist party is asked for serious cooperation.
Considerably less than a quarter of the valid votes for the candidates of the governing parties is in its dimension far more than an expression of protest. It is the consequences of deep dissatisfaction on the one hand and on the other it shows the nationalist and right-extremist feelings that found their voice in the candidate of the FPÖ.
For the first time in Austria’s history it is possible that a person becomes elected president of Austria who regards the country as part of the German nation.
Norbert Hofer (FPÖ) tries to appease: He as president would be president “protector of all Austrians”. Apart from the fact that this has to be seen in this party’s tradition of “Austria first”, he at the same time announces that one will see what a president of the FPÖ is able to do. And this can only be interpreted that he would not hesitate to use totally the authoritarian potential of the office of president – in a period of a prevailing and multifaceted European crisis.
The Social Democrats together with the Conservatives are about to break the law by passing asylum bills in their futile hope of securing votes that are going to the right.
Austria is not Norbert Hofer. The solidarity with the refugees that was shown so impressively by the civil society and the churches from last summer is proof of the existence of a different Austria.
The strategy of SPÖ and ÖVP to adapt to the European and Austrian right tendencies by following the xenophobic, anti muslim and nationalist feelings and thus preparing the ground for the FPÖ, has suffered a spectacular and disastrous defeat last Sunday. This strategy combined with the continuing cuts of social achievements are responsible for the danger that Austria is threatened to join the right-wing populist dominated European countries – not the “refugee crisis”.
This has to be prevented. Austria needs a political alternative that can only come from a broad cooperation of political forces left of the current dominating forces within the SP and the mainstreamed Greens. The sooner they can form such a cooperation the better the chance to state after the next general elections: Yes there is a fundamental change within the Austrian political landscape and the Left was able to use the chances. They left behind the politics of the “minor evil” and are developing their own political project – in the interest of the majority of the society, for an Austria that is not left to the right-wing populists. For an Austrian society of solidarity, a political culture, that is not part of the current neoliberal mainstream in Europe but strengthening the democratic and social opposition within Europe.
If the outcome of these presidential elections will lead a lot of people who ask themselves how go on, to turn in this direction, than even something very positive and good can be achieved – much more than voting for Alexander van der Bellen in the final ballot.
Norbert Hofer (right-winger): 35,1 %
Alexander Van der Bellen (Greens): 21,3 %
Irmgard Griss (conservative independent): 18,9 %
Rudolf Hundstorfer (Social Democrats): 11,3 %
Andreas Khol (peoples party): 11,1 %
Richard Lugner (reactionary independent): 2,3 %