Victory for the SPÖ in Carinthia

The Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) won the regional elections in Carinthia (Southern Austria) yesterday (Sun), achieving 37.1%. The Freedom Party of Carinthia (FPK) lost most of the votes (-27.8%). The ÖVP, on third place (14.2%), was followed by the Green Party (11.8%).

440,748 Carinthians were entitled to vote, of which 71.4 percent actually voted. The 36 seats in the regional parliament in Carinthia will thus be divided as follows: 14 seats for the SPÖ, six seats for the FPK, five seats for the ÖVP, four seats for the Green Party, four seats for Team Stronach and three seats for the BZÖ.

The SPÖ has now got three seats in the regional government while the FPK, ÖVP, the Green Party and Team Stronach have one seat each. This means that the SPÖ will need a coalition partner to establish a majority. This is the first time that there are five parties in the regional government of Carinthia.

The FPK registered a record result in the last elections on 1 March 2009. Five months after the death of Governor Jörg Haider (BZÖ) the party achieved 44.89% of the votes.

Peter Kaiser, the head of the SPÖ Carinthia said, he would consider every party, apart from the FPK, as a potential partner. He said that a coalition of the SPÖ with the ÖVP and the Green Party would be very useful for Carinthia.

Mr Kaiser also said that he would stick to his plans of abolishing the care regress and the so-called “Proporz”. This is an old, weak form of an all-party government, which automatically gives parties a seat in the government if they have achieved a certain result in the elections.

Chancellor Werner Faymann considers the result to be a general reversal of trend in Carinthia’s politics.