The political status in Austria
The National Council election on 29 September is fast approaching. While Sebastian Kurz's Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) has suffered a few scratches from the dubious shredding of hard disks from the Chancellery, it is still leading in the polls with about 35%. Accordingly, Kurz expressed in an interview this week that, after the elections, he wishes for a broad and convenient selection from several coalition options. While after the 2017 election there was only the turquoise-blue option, i.e. an alliance with the FPÖ, this time he wanted to explore "the best option for Austria".
However, this week, ÖVP had come under renewed pressure in the election campaign because of potential misuse of finances. After initially veiled major donations caused a sensation, an investigative paper has revealed a case of alleged tricks in reporting the costs of election campaign. The ÖVP is operating a "double-entry accounting system" in order to officially remain below the legally prescribed upper limit of seven million euros. In reality, the People's Party had planned expenditures of around nine million euros. In an initial reaction, Kurz told ORF that the accusations were "partly false". ÖVP Secretary General, Karl Nehammer, announced an injunction against the magazine.
This is not the only issue for ÖVP as another quarrel is overshadowing their election campaign: former coalition partners and now opponents Sebastion Kurz (ÖVP) and Herbert Kickl (FPÖ) are accusing each other of stealing each other’s election slogan: “The one who speaks the truth”. Meanwhile, the FPÖ and the SPÖ are fighting for second place in the elections. In its race to catch up against Kurz und Co., the SPÖ now wants to focus on one topic in particular: climate policy.
While everything in the 2017 election campaign was dominated by the migration issue, climate policy could become the top issue in 2019, and this time the Social Democrats don't want to follow suit, but set the agenda themselves.