Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Right surges in Austria

What happens when the ruling class ignores those who it rules? Well, in a Parliamentary system, things can get funky real fast. Add it up though, and you see what is going on.
The far Right has made a grand return in Austria, emerging from yesterday’s elections as the second biggest parliamentary block, according to preliminary results.

The two parties that campaigned on an anti-immigrant and anti-European Union ticket have captured about 29 per cent of the vote, pushing the country’s traditional conservative party into third place.

Heinz-Christian Strache and his Freedom Party, who were accused of xenophobia and waging an antiMuslim campaign, won 18 per cent — a rise of 7 per cent compared with the last elections. Mr Strache’s former mentor, Jörg Haider, won 11 per cent of the vote with his new party, the Alliance for the Future of Austria.
The mainstream parties recorded their lowest share of the vote since the Second World War, with the Social Democrats dropping 7 per cent to 29.7 per cent, while the conservative People’s Party won 25.6 per cent of the vote — a decline of 9 per cent compared with 2006.
Center-Right to Reich gets you 18+11+25.6 = 54.6%

While we are yodeling - look at what is going on in Bavaria.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative allies in the southern German state of Bavaria suffered heavy losses in a state election on Sunday, a development that could have far-reaching consequences for federal elections next year.

The conservative Christian Social Union won 43.4 percent of the vote — compared with nearly 61 percent five years ago — while support surged for smaller parties, including the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats.

It was a humiliating defeat for the Christian Social Union, which since the early 1960s had effortlessly won election after election and was able to govern alone in Bavaria, a largely Catholic state.

“It is a painful result for us,” said Günther Beckstein, the governor of Bavaria. “It is clear we now have to choose a coalition partner.”

The Christian Social Union has traditionally provided a crucial number of parliamentary seats for Mrs. Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union, on the federal level.
Don't think the SPD surged though.
But the Social Democrats, partners in Merkel's "grand coalition" government, were unable to capitalise on the conservatives' misery and slipped half a point to 19.1 percent.
Nope what happened is that the establishment party of the right has lost touch, ahem, with its base and they are protesting. Der Spiegel puts it well; when you add CSU + FDP + FW....
The professional optimists at the SPD headquarters in Berlin will naturally spin this and turn to the tried and trusted argument that a state election is not the general election. That is true. However, there is a second phenomenon here: The Greens hardly profited either. Instead almost all the disappointed CSU supporters turned to the FDP or the Freie Wähler group. The camps, therefore, remain unchanged. There is hardly any movement between the bourgeois voters and the supporters of the SPD, the Greens and the Left Party. That has also been the case since 1998 at a federal level. The prospects that the SPD could attract voters away from the CDU in the next general election are thus very slim.
Hmmmm - how do we do that in the USA?

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