Oppitz-Plörer wins mayoral election

Innsbruck Mayor Christine Oppitz-Plörer has been confirmed in office.

The head of Für Innsbruck (FI, For Innsbruck), a conservative list which was established by former People’s Party (ÖVP) officials, received 56 per cent in Sunday’s runoff election. Christoph Platzgummer, who ran for the ÖVP, was supported by only 44 per cent of participating residents of the provincial capital of Tyrol. With 44.5 per cent, the turnout was even lower than the one of last month’s city hall ballot (52.3 per cent).

Platzgummer congratulated Oppitz-Plörer. He said: “I fought to become mayor of Innsbruck but voters have made their decision. This has to be accepted.”

Oppitz-Plörer – the only woman among mayors of Austria’s nine provincial capitals – announced plans to start talks about a coalition with the ÖVP and the Green Party soon. She underlined that the city parliament now consisted of three almost equally strong factions.

FI won 21 per cent in the city hall vote, almost six per cent less than in 2006. The ÖVP came first in the election. The party, which bagged only 14.6 per cent six years ago, managed to win over nearly 22 per cent of voters in the recent ballot.

The Innsbruck department of the Austrian Green Party increased its share from 18.5 to 19.1 per cent while the Social Democrats (SPÖ) sustained a severe defeat. They found the support of just 14.5 per cent, down sharply compared to 2006 (19.7 per cent).

The rightist Freedom Party (FPÖ) bagged 7.7 per cent, up from five per cent in 2006. The party caused outcry across the country and in the Arabian region by attacking “Moroccan thieves” on a poster a few days before election day. Its frontrunner August Penz eventually apologised to the country’s community in the city and the Moroccan government while FPÖ Tyrol head Gerald Hauser said the party would not change its opinion on the “massive problem of criminal Moroccans”.

The Liste Federspiel, another right-wing faction, garnered 9.4 per cent six years ago. Its share plunged to less than eight per cent in last month’s city parliament election. The Innsbruck branch of the recently established Austrian Pirate Party (PPÖ) bagged 3.8 per cent. This means that the party will hold one of the 40 seats in the next Innsbruck parliament.

A new poll by Vienna-based public opinion research agency Karmasin reveals that one in four Austrians can “generally imagine” to back the PPÖ in an election. The party and several other newly founded political movements strongly benefit from the established factions’ ongoing feuds about various issues and an alleged rise of political corruption.

An apparent standstill as far as the willingness to carry out substantial political reforms is concerned can be linked to surveys showing that just five per cent of Austrians trust the country’s politicians. Fire-fighters do best as 97 per cent of people put trust in them. Nurses take second place with 95 per cent, followed by pilots (94 per cent) and doctors (90 per cent).