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Saturday, 19 May 2012

ÖVP and FPÖ share success in Upper Austrian election

Yesterday's Upper Austrian provincial election saw disastrous losses for the Social Democrats (SPÖ) leaving them with their worst ever result in the province.

Final results saw the SPÖ gaining only 25.2 per cent of the vote which equals a 13.1 per cent loss and translates into 14 mandates.

The conservative People's Party ÖVP gained an almost absolute majority securing 46.5 per cent, increasing their share of the vote by 3 per cent on the last election. This will give them a total of 28 seats in the provincial parliament – exactly half.

Right-wing Freedom Party FPÖ emerged the big winner having almost doubled its share since the last election in 2003, gaining 15.3 per cent of the vote. This increase of 6.9 per cent translates into 9 seats.
The Green Party maintained their share of 9.2 per cent of the votes, up just 0.2 giving them 5 seats in parliament.

The BZÖ (Alliance for the Future of Austria) of the late Jörg Haider failed to surpass the 5 per cent minimum share of the votes required to enter the provincial parliament. Running for the first time in Upper Austria they reached only 2.9 per cent of the vote.

SPÖ leader Erich Haider called the election result a "very, very painful electoral defeat" and hinted at his resignation. He is to ask for a vote of confidence today and has not ruled out the possibility that he may resign. "It is a very painful election defeat" he said. Following the SPÖ losses in Vorarlberg, many in the party had tried to say the national party was responsible for the provincial losses, but Haider added: "Here it is about an election on a provincial level and it is on this level that we have to be held responsible."

SPÖ losses in the Vorarlberg provincial elections saw a fall of 6.8 per cent in comparison to the 2004 election.
Gabi Burgstaller, leader of the SPÖ in Salzburg, has called the provincial results in Upper Austria a catastrophe.

"There is absolutely nothing to be positive about this result. It is a lot worse than we expected. It is now the time to reflect on the reasons for this hefty defeat in Upper Austria."

Despite the ÖVP victory, which has historically been the strongest party in Upper Austria, party leader Josef Pühringer did not celebrate because of the Freedom Party's success. "I am not triumphant just yet. To be honest, I was expecting us making a small loss."

Lower Austrian ÖVP leader Pröll commented "It is an impressive victory for Pühringer and the ÖVP in Upper Austria. It is an excellent basis for future collaboration between the ÖVP in Lower and Upper Austria," said Pröll as he congratulated Pühringer.

Head of the FPÖ Hans-Christian Strache was also beaming, however, saying: "It is a massive success for the FPÖ in Upper Austria. It confirms the current trend with the FPÖ in Austria."

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