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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fear factor: why the election of the President of Austria, the leader of the nationalist

Presidential elections in Austria showed that sympathy impressive part of the population belongs to the nationalists. In the second round of voting, the candidate from the far-right Austrian freedom party (fpö) Norbert Hofer received after the counting of votes at polling stations 51.9% of the votes, while his rival, the former head of the green Party Alexander van der Bellen is 48.1%. Despite the fact that the gap is around 4%, the outcome of the vote should decide the counting of ballots sent by mail (12% of the electorate).

photo: AP

On the photo: Norbert Hofer

In the first round of the race for the presidency, which took place in April, Hofer scored 35% and van der Bellen – 21%. As marks Bi-bi-si, since the Second world war, the candidates from the main Austrian parties – the Social democratic and national – were not included in the second round of voting.

What is a Hofer as a politician and which threatens Austria, if he will take the post of President? “His personal views are in that field, which political scientists call a moderate euroscepticism, says “MK” head of the Center for party and political studies of the Institute of Europe RAS Vladimir Schweitzer. – It is not for the dissolution of the EU and the collapse of European construction, and adjustments. One of the main adjustments that he defends, – increase the quality of decisions taken at national level to not have any resolutions from Brussels. Regarding refugees, he says: they need to provide some help, not push them away, but it is not necessary to include them in the Austrian social system. Generally speaking, Hofer that was the priority of national values. We have to think about her – about jobs, about social security, about health care. What will happen to the refugees is another issue. He believes that the EU should determine the issue of quotas on the distribution of the refugees themselves.”

The reason for the popularity policy has become the situation of migrants. “Hofer is a person, not having any charisma – says “MK” Vladimir Schweitzer. – He is not a politician of that level at which policies were in Austria before. The whole story of migration, of refugees, when they rushed to Germany through Austria, frightened of the Austrians. Hofer played on fear. So he got the vote. If everything clears, its popularity may leave in sand”.

At the same time, the analyst believes that not all campaign promises can be implemented. “I can tell you from my experience with European politicians: what they say in the campaign, God forbid, at least half of the remains when they come to power, and in the implementation plan – less, – says Vladimir Schweitzer. – Even if Hofer will make some adjustments, that Europe is not going to revolutionize. In Austria – Yes, something will change at the next parliamentary elections his party APS can be the first, judging by the result, which he achieved in the first round. May be a shift in this direction. May be a shift in this direction, but it could be the opposite: the forces that now are not friends, can be friends against the party. With her coalition no go. In today’s Europe blocks is very typical.”

The President of Austria plays a role, says “MK” Vladimir Schweitzer. – We cannot say that it is a decorative figure. First, he is the Supreme commander. Secondly, it controls the formation of the government. Maybe some Ministers to withdraw, and some to recommend. Thirdly, they can act with legislative initiatives. The President countersigns all the laws. In General, it is the role of a supervisor.

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