BZÖ farewell possible, poll shows

The chances of the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) to avoid dropping out of parliament are waning, according to a new poll.

Viennese research group Karmasin found that just two per cent of voters would currently support the party – which was founded by late Carinthian Governor and Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Jörg Haider in 2005 – in federal elections. This is a significant decrease compared to January when four per cent signalised support for the BZÖ.

These developments indicate that BZÖ leaders failed to convince people that their faction was not linked with corruption in any possible way anymore. Several ex-BZÖ members were interviewed by the parliamentary anti-corruption committee in the past weeks. They are accused of disguising illegal subsidisation of the party by former Telekom Austria (TA) managers.

Around four per cent are needed to make it into parliament. The Green Party, which is headed by Eva Glawischnig, is not at risk of being forced to leave the federal parliament due to a lack of support in next year’s ballot. However, the left-wing faction is struggling too. Karmasin – which interviewed 500 Austrians – found that only 12 per cent of voters were willing to back the Greens right now, two per cent fewer than at the beginning of the year.

The Green Party sustained a loss of 0.6 per cent in 2008 when the most recent federal ballot took place. They bagged just 10.4 per cent in the election. Poll results show that the party struggles to benefit from the latest boost for movements campaigning against nuclear technology and in favour of more investments in renewable energy measures.

Asked by Die Presse about a possible threat coming from the Austrian Pirate Party (PPÖ), Glawischnig said: “The Pirates are currently more of a phenomenon in Germany. We have to observe how everything develops.”

The PPÖ was founded in 2006. It celebrated its first considerable success in an election in Innsbruck last month. The political movement –which mainly consists of young, male computer enthusiasts and IT experts – won one seat in the city hall parliament of the Tyrolean capital thanks to a 3.8 per cent share of votes. The Greens garnered 19.1 per cent in the Innsbruck ballot, 0.6 per cent more than in the vote of 2006.

The PPÖ did not compete in the city hall ballot of 2006. PPÖ board member Patryk Kopaczynski said: “I think we have good chances to claim 10 to 15 per cent in a federal election if everything works out nicely in the coming months.”

The new Karmasin study – which was conducted for magazine profil – reveals that 29 per cent of Austrians plan to support the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ). The faction, which currently forms a government coalition with the People’s Party (ÖVP), came first in 2008 with 29.3 per cent (2006: 35.3 per cent). The ÖVP is seen at 24 per cent by Karmasin. The agency’s latest survey reveals that, with 26 per cent, the Freedom Party (FPÖ) is ahead of the faction of Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelegger at the moment.