BZÖ boss determined five years on

The Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) boss Josef Bucher said he was ready for the “mammoth task” of establishing his party five years after its foundation.Bucher took over the hot seat at the right-wing BZÖ one and a half years ago from Stefan Petzner.Petzner, now the party’s general secretary, only headed the BZÖ for a few weeks after doubts he was capable of leading it increased following his public tearful farewell from late BZÖ founder Jörg Haider in 2008.Bucher yesterday (Sun) rubbished rumours Petzner was considering stepping down as general secretary. He revealed instead that the plan was to introduce a second general secretary to support Petzner.Speaking about the party’s state and its future he said: “It took the Greens almost 20 years to establish a new political force. To do this with another political movement is even more difficult.”Asked whether it might take him and the BZÖ 30 years to become a more powerful political force, he said: “I’m not a dreamer, but I think it’s doable for us in less than 30 years.”The BZÖ was founded on 4 April 2005 by Haider and Freedom Party (FPÖ) government ministers after an internal party row threatened to tear the FPÖ apart.While the FPÖ would win 21 per cent of the vote were elections held this week, the BZÖ is seen at around only four per cent in current polls. It surprisingly reached almost 11 per cent in the 2008 general elections, while four per cent would be just enough to stay in parliament.The BZÖ failed to enter the provincial parliaments of Vorarlberg and Upper Austria in elections earlier this year. But Bucher is optimistic about this autumn’s Styrian elections, while the party will not run in the upcoming provincial elections in Burgenland.