SPÖ see devastating loss after weekend election

The SPÖ lost a huge amoung of votes in the Salzburg state election yesterday (Sun). The party of Governor Gabi Burgstaller only achieved 23.81%, which is a loss of 15.58% compared to 2009. Even though the ÖVP lost more than seven percent, they came first. The Green Party is a winner of this election.

It was presumed before the election that the ÖVP and the SPÖ would compete head-to-head. However, this forecast proved to be wrong. The ÖVP did make losses but definitely came first with 29.01 percent. The party lost 7.52 percent compared to 2009.

According to current indications, the SPÖ only achieved 23.81 percent of the votes. This is a record loss of 15.58 percent and points to the political end of Governor Gabi Burgstaller.

“We did not expect losses to this extent. The fact is, however, that the residents have lost their trust into politics and particularly in the SPÖ”, Mrs Burgstaller stated.

“As I have already announced, I will resign from politics. However, I will try and contribute in the next days and weeks by working hard”, the governor went on.

Wilfried Haslauer, head of the ÖVP in Salzburg, said in a first statement that he would negotiate with all parties. “In accordance with the customs, I will talk to parties who came second and third.

“We also made losses which we did not expect. This is, in a way, a red card and should make us think. My goal is to establish a government in May and to become a good governor for all residents of Salzburg”, Mr Haslauer went on.

The head of the ÖVP had emphasised that he would pursue a coaliation of two parties but he would also consider other coalitions.

The Green Party achieved 20.17 percent and was thus able to double their share of votes. Compared to the last state election in 2009 the votes increased by around 12 percent.

In a first reaction, top candidate Astrid Rössler stated: “I thank all residents from Salzburg for putting their trust in us, which has been shattered in the last few months. This election was an extraordnary one”.

Astrid Rössler is the chairperson of the inquiry committee of the financial scandal, which became public in Salzburg in 2012. She said that the committee played an “important role”. Apparently, it showed that the Green Party “stands for transparency”. Mrs Rössler thinks that the party can now earn the trust of the public.

The FPÖ also gained votes – they achieved 17.04 percent compared to 13 percent in 2009. They will thus get an additional mandate.

“We are both happy and sad about the result. More than four percent of the increased share of the vote is naturally very good, but the Green Party took over. However, we will try and make the best out of this result”, the FPÖ stated.

Team Stronach also managed to enter parliament in his first election in Salzburg. Altough the Neo-Party received votes under 10 percent, they will receive three mandates in the state parliament.

“Our main goal was the club status, which we have achieved. Nine percent would have been nice but we have to be pleased with this result”, Hans Mayr of Neos stated.
The Pirates achieved 1.3 percent of the votes and the Communist Party (KPÖ) reached only 0.33 percent.

Election researcher and politologist Peter Filzmaier said that the election was a clear evidence of incapacity of Salzburg’s policies. Political failure in many areas, but particulary the financial scandal, led to the poor results.

“The ÖVP was partly blamed for the financial scandal, but the SPÖ was blamed most. At the beginning of the scandal, the focus was on the SPÖ and the former financial adviser David Brenner. This drew the attention away from the ÖVP”, Mr Filzmaier explained.

The politologist said that a coalition of ÖVP and SPÖ was hardly possible. “This would mean a cooperation of two parties, which lost more than 23 percent in total. This would ignore the result of the election and would be a coalition of losers.

“It is questionable whether Mr Haslauer wants to establish a coalition of three parties. It is thus a difficult situation. The SPÖ has to start from the very beginning, if Gabi Burgstaller actually leaves. The main reason for people to vote for the party was to make the governor stay”, Mr Filzmaier said.

The voter turnout is presumed to have been lower than in the last state election. 69 percent of all people entitled to vote took part in the election, compared to 74.4 percent in 2009.