”Good night Austria! I’m moving out! How can people be so stupid?!” – Austrian liberals got a really painful punch in the stomach after the results of the presidential election’s first round. Don’t be surprised by the hysterical reactions, after the polls which suggested a close result, it came indeed unexpectedly that FPÖ’s Norbert Hofer received 36% of the votes, while green-liberal Alexander Van der Bellen got 21%.
It was only the first round, but the Austrian voters already made history, as it’s the first time that Austria’s next president comes from neither of the traditional big parties. The SPÖ-ÖVP grand coalition got a huge slap in the face, their candidates didn’t even get one quarter of the votes, in total. Taking into account that this campaign was also dominated by the topic of immigration, we can draw the conclusion that almost nobody is satisfied with the government’s migration policies. They couldn’t fool the FPÖ voters with their new, hardened tone. Albeit liberals – with their sickening elitism – call FPÖ voters stupid, those people remember very well that Chancellor Faymann envisioned Nazism in Hungary last year, and insulted Viktor Orbán – whose migration policies they like – in such manner, that FPÖ leaders had to say sorry in his name several times. But we don’t have to go back in time this far, as despite the hardened migration policies, ÖVP candidate Andreas Khol mocked Orbán even in this campaign. Left wing and liberal voters on the other hand, from their pro-migration point of view, think that the government is pathetically running after FPÖ votes.
In the second round Norbert Hofer or Alexander Van der Bellen will be elected. Detailed results and polls clearly show the differences in society. It was mostly the urban intellectuals who voted for Van der Bellen, he also won Vienna, at least – mostly – the inner districts. The working class, a part of the intellectuals and the countryside voted for Hofer. If we look at the map of Austria, apart from a few spots it’s blue. It’s hard to forecast the results of the second round, because the votes of the supporters of the other candidates are not evident – plus there’s the 40% who didn’t even go to vote.
Van der Bellen’s result showed the strength of the pro-immigration, liberal intellectuals, and Hofer’s victory showed their worst side. The arrogant jokes about Hofer’s victory among the less educated are rather repulsive, but it should make us think that they are questioning the results. Vienna’s social democratic mayor, Michael Häupl spoke about preventing the final FPÖ victory, the Offensive Gegen Rechts antifa group is organising a demonstration and even Van der Bellen himself said during his campaign that if the FPÖ wins parliamentary elections, as president he would probably dissolve the parliament. Liberals are just showing their usual face, and the Left joined the choir.
Chancellor Faymann already made it clear that he will support Van der Bellen – of course he will, the Greens don’t endanger the shaky throne of the grand coalition, they might even save it. In a suicidal way, Austrian social democrats are following the example of their Hungarian friends and try to gain the good graces of the liberals, instead of understanding the obvious fact that the social class that they are supposed to represent has chosen the FPÖ, largely because of its immigration policy.
But don’t forget about the „moderate right”! The ÖVP wasn’t impressed by Van der Bellen’s above mentioned remark, they think he implied that he’ll force left wing policies on Austria despite the will of the voters. It’s not obvious at all that ÖVP voters, especially those who live in the countryside, will join the „antifascist”, „democratic” block against Hofer. County elections of last year already proved to be a warning sign for the ÖVP, several of its politicians made it clear that they don’t want to keep falling down, being tied to the social democrats. The ÖVP-FPÖ coalition in Upper Austria can easily be a rehearsal for a country level cooperation.
The presidential election can bring change to Austria. Regardless of the success of the anti-Hofer unholy alliance of the Left and the liberals, Faymann should seriously start thinking on May 23 – whom does his government represent anyway?
Read this article in Hungarian on Magyar Hírlap Online!