Graz has voted – any surprises?

20 01 2008

Photo: Lisa Rücker, Green Party candidate for Graz, casting her vote on election day.

Graz has voted, and with all the districts counted, there is a clear winner: the Green Party led by Lisa Rücker (see picture above), gaining 6.10% now holding 14.60 % and the third place (previously fourth). The party had the highest increase of votes, almost doubled. Despite all the racist rattling by FPÖ under Susanne Winter the weeks before (see also my blog entry here), the party remains the fifth strongest, nevertheless gaining votes (now 10.80%). The Communist Party (KPÖ), strong in 2003, has dramatically lost and is down at 11.20% and the fourth place. Of the two large parties, the conservative ÖVP has confirmed its pole position (currently 38.40%), first acquired in 2003, with gains in votes, while the challenger, the Socialdemocrats (SPÖ), lost further, down to 19.70%. The far-right BZÖ of Jörg Haider gained 4.30% of the votes, also represented in the Gemeinderat.

Winter’s incompetent, hurting and racist comments seemed to have one effect: Strengthening the opponents. Firstly, the Green Party. Winter’s comment aided Green politician Rücker who gained profile and strengthening the party’s presence in the public and mobilizing the Green electorate . And voters disappointed by the the KPÖ – the popular leader Ernest Kaltenegger has left city politics for the Landtag (Regional Parliament) – rather chose not to vote this time or vote ‘green’; not the Socialdemocrats or the far-right FPÖ. Secondly, the second winner was the BZÖ: The result of 4.20% of votes is the strongest showing since the last General Elections of October 1, 2006.

What conclusions can be made? That remains up to the political parties in Graz. A strong showing of the Green Party gives hope for changes in Austria, establishing them as the third political force, already indicated in the 2006 General elections where the Greens landed third. On the far-right, the consequences are evident: The struggle of who represents this political spectrum is undecided still, though the FPÖ has the overall stronger showing. The 1990s, however, when Jörg Haider still led the party and massively gained votes in opposition, seem finally over. Together, however, the far-right would have won over the Greens and gone third.




2 responses

20 01 2008
Politics » Graz has voted - any surprises?

[…] Matthias Wurz wrote an interesting post today on Graz has voted – any surprises?Here’s a quick excerptAs both political parties, the FPÖ and Green Party, do not exchange votes, Winter’s comment aided the popular Green politician Rücker to gain profile an strong political profile in the city. Winter’s comment seemed to mobilize their one … […]

23 03 2008
Kourosh Ziabari

Dear Matt
Hi! I am Kourosh, from Iran. I’ve recently found your blog after the recommendation of my close Austrian friend who is also one of your readers for a few months
I have a basket full of colorful vernal flowers for the newly arrived spring to present you! Accept my warmest congratulations.
If you want to learn more about the ancient celebration of Nowruz in Persia that cheers the arrival of spring and vernal equinox, take a look of my blog and read the latest post. Also if you want to view the pictures of Persian and Tajik girls dancing in honor of Nowruz and become acquainted with Haft-Sin table that has been recently set inside the White House, take a few moments to look at my other blog at
Be happy!

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