Buscador avanzado

‘While entering a coalition with a fundamentally different party is a challenge, it is at the same time an opportunity.’ Alma Zadić is sworn in by Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen on 7 January. Photograph: Leonhard Föger/Reuters

Shaking the hand of the Austrian president, Alexander Van der Bellen, during my inauguration as Austria’s justice minister in January was a profoundly moving moment for me and for my family. But it was moving also for a great many people who came to Austria as migrants or refugees. To see a former child refugee from the Bosnian war sworn in as a government minister in the country to which her family fled in 1995 was for many hugely symbolic – a signal that they, too, had now been fully accepted as part of Austrian society, with the right to participate in the country’s politics and even to shape it.…  Seguir leyendo »

One big thing is clear after Sunday’s snap election in Austria: Sebastian Kurz not only survived a scandal but also seems back on top of his game.

The former Austrian chancellor scored a clear election victory only four months after a video sting ended his coalition with the far right. His conservative People’s Party exceeded poll estimates and won 37.5 percent of the vote.

The Social Democrats took 21.2 percent — the party’s worst-ever result since 1945. The far-right Freedom Party suffered a sharp blow and received 16.2 percent of the vote, down from 26 percent in the 2017 election.

Who polled particularly well in Saturday’s election?…  Seguir leyendo »

Austrians spent the week reeling from last Friday’s bombshell — in a secretly filmed video, Deputy Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), discussed trading government contracts for campaign support with a woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch.

Explosive excerpts of the seven-hour footage show Strache smoking and drinking with his fellow party member Johann Gudenus in a villa on the Spanish island of Ibiza. In the video, filmed two years ago, Strache appears to suggest the Russian woman buy Austria’s largest tabloid newspaper, the Kronen Zeitung, and turn it into a mouthpiece for the FPÖ.…  Seguir leyendo »

On July 1, Austria assumed the six-month, rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Austrian federal government, led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, is a coalition between the populist right-wing Austrian People’s Party (OVP) and the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPO).

It is not easy for the member state holding the presidency to change E.U. policy. However, the presiding country can influence policy on issues it considers highly important. Austria is likely to use the presidency to try to toughen the E.U.’s stance on immigration.

What is the presidency of the Council of the E.U.?

The Council of the E.U.…  Seguir leyendo »

Austria no tiene razón

Austria ostenta la presidencia temporal de la Unión Europea desde el 1 de julio, pero días antes de acceder a ella el Gobierno ultraconservador de Viena había cometido ya un crimen de lesa europeidad al violentar los principios y valores que desde su fundación en los años cincuenta del pasado siglo han promovido las comunidades europeas, recogidos en el artículo 21 del Tratado de la Unión: “La acción de la Unión en la escena internacional se basará en los principios que han inspirado su creación, desarrollo y ampliación y que pretende fomentar en el resto del mundo: la democracia, el Estado de derecho, la universalidad e indivisibilidad de los derechos humanos y de las libertades fundamentales, el respeto de la dignidad humana, los principios de la Carta de Naciones Unidas y del derecho internacional...”.…  Seguir leyendo »

When former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury, England, by a Novichok nerve agent, the British government investigated — and called the Russian state responsible for the chemical attack.

The European Union also issued a strong statement and expressed “unqualified solidarity with the United Kingdom in the face of this grave challenge to our shared security.”

Austria signed on to the E.U. statement, but then held back when the United Kingdom, United States and a number of E.U. countries subsequently expelled some 100 Russian diplomats.

Vienna’s decision not to follow suit move drew heavy criticism from other E.U.…  Seguir leyendo »

Election campaign posters of Christian Kern, top candidate of Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPOe), and Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, top candidate of Austrian People’s Party (OeVP), in Vienna in October. (Reuters)

On Dec. 18, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, a former leader of the Green party, appointed a new right-wing government. The two big winners of the October election — the center-right People’s Party (ÖVP) and the radical right Freedom Party (FPÖ) — have agreed on a common agenda.

Sebastian Kurz, the 31-year-old ÖVP leader, has stepped in as the country’s new head of government – the “chancellor” is the main actor in Austrian politics. His party won 31.5 percent by calling for restricted immigration and limiting support for immigrants, mainly referring to Muslims. This had originally been one of FPÖ’s signature issues.…  Seguir leyendo »

Disons-le clairement : les héritiers du nazisme sont en position de force dans le nouveau gouvernement autrichien. En conséquence, les Etats et les sociétés civiles d’Europe doivent agir avec détermination pour mettre ce gouvernement au ban de l’Europe et boycotter la présidence autrichienne de l’Union Européenne. Je sais que cette position, consensuelle lors de la précédente participation du FPÖ – le Parti de la liberté d’Autriche –  au gouvernement de 2000 à 2006, ne l’est plus aujourd’hui. L’héritage nazi serait-il moins infamant qu’hier ? La nature exterminatrice des référents idéologiques du parti serait-elle moins dangereuse ? En effet, si ce sont essentiellement les discours antimusulmans et xénophobes, en particulier à l’encontre des réfugiés, qui ont permis au FPÖ de revenir sur le devant de la scène politique, sa matrice idéologique n’a pas varié.…  Seguir leyendo »

An election campaign poster with Sebastian Kurz of the People’s Party near the Parliament in Vienna on Monday. Credit Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters

Yet another European country has swung to the right. Nearly 58 percent of Austrian voters cast ballots last Sunday for the center-right People’s Party or the far-right Freedom Party. It is likely that the two parties will form a governing coalition.

Since the 1980s, the Freedom Party has been associated with anti-immigration xenophobia, anti-Semitism and, more recently, Islamophobia. On Sunday, about 26 percent of Austrians backed the party, giving it its highest share of the vote since 1999. Though the center-left Social Democrats came in second place, avoiding an embarrassing third-place finish, less than one percentage point separated them from the Freedom Party.…  Seguir leyendo »

Este domingo, los austriacos votaron por un cambio político. Después de una década, la tradicional coalición entre socialdemócratas y conservadores está desgastada y su política de consenso parece haber llegado a su fin. Se reconocerán sus méritos y tal vez se la eche de menos dentro de poco, pero por el momento una mayoría confía en que haya “tiempo para algo nuevo”, el lema del conservador Sebastian Kurz. El joven ministro de Exteriores ha sabido cambiar la deteriorada imagen de su partido y ha dinamizado su liderazgo aprovechando los vientos favorables aunque la gente no sepa muy bien hacia dónde les lleva.…  Seguir leyendo »

Austrian presidential candidate Alexander Van der Bellen celebrates with supporters at a post-election event in Vienna in 2016. (AFP/Getty Images)

In December 2016, Alexander Van der Bellen, a former leader of the Green Party, won Austria’s presidential election. Even though he barely defeated the candidate of the radical right Freedom Party (FPÖ), euphoric observers argued that “Austria stopped right-wing populism in its tracks.”

Austrians again head to the polls on Sunday, this time to elect the Nationalrat (National Council), with 183 seats assigned via proportional representation. Despite Van der Bellen’s victory, restrictive talk on immigration and integration continues to dominate Austrian politics. Even more, the FPÖ looks likely to gain seats, and rejoin the government coalition after more than a decade in opposition.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘The policy ultimately risks normalising far-right rhetoric, validating populist party programmes and empowering Austrian identity movements by demonising Muslim communities.’ Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Austria’s decision to introduce a full-face veil ban in public spaces such as courts and schools comes as anti-Muslim bigotry across the US and Europe is reaching an all-time high. The terrorist attack on the Québec City mosque should act as a warning of what can happen. It is, to say the least, rather unwise timing for the Austrian centrist coalition to announce a policy that disproportionally targets Muslims.

With only about 150 women affected, the Austrian ban on the niqab and the burqa is considered a symbolic act rather than a policy aimed at responding to a security threat, or to provoke social change.…  Seguir leyendo »

Alexander Van der Bellen celebrated with his supporters in Vienna on Sunday. Credit Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

Following the Brexit referendum in June and the election of Donald J. Trump in November, Austria’s presidential election on Sunday was closely watched as an indicator of whether right-wing populists would continue their 2016 winning streak. For now, at least, they haven’t.

On Sunday, Alexander Van der Bellen, a former leader of Austria’s Green Party, defeated Norbert Hofer of the far-right Freedom Party. This was a rerun of an election held in May whose results were annulled by the constitutional court after complaints of voting irregularities. This time, Mr. Van der Bellen won by a far wider margin — nearly seven percentage points, compared with less than one in May — despite opinion polls and many observers’ predicting his defeat.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mientras la mayor parte de la Unión Europea parece haber entrado en pánico ante la perspectiva de una victoria de la líder de la extrema derecha francesa Marine Le Pen en la elección presidencial de Francia en mayo, la próxima prueba para la UE tendrá lugar mucho antes. El domingo los italianos votarán en un referendo sobre reformas constitucionales y los austríacos elegirán a su próximo presidente. Las elecciones de ambos países podrían tener ramificaciones importantes más allá de sus fronteras.

En Italia, el inminente plebiscito se ha convertido en un voto de confianza popular en el primer ministro, Matteo Renzi, quien ha dicho que renunciará si se rechazan las reformas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sunday will see the culmination of one of the longest, toughest — and flat-out weirdest — elections ever in Austria. Voters will choose between two candidates: Alexander Van der Bellen, the former leader of the small Green Party, and Norbert Hofer, a key figure in the right-wing Freedom Party.

The result will have a symbolic importance far beyond Austria. Is another country about to join the rise of nationalist and far-right populists elsewhere in Europe, and mimic the unexpected success of President-elect Donald J. Trump in the United States?

The pairing of finalists in this contest is odd enough: Both their parties were usually on the fringes of the traditional political establishment, which for decades was dominated by the center-left Social Democrats on one side and the center-right Austrian People’s Party on the other.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mes amis français se moquent de moi : j’ai beau vivre depuis près de trente ans à Paris, la première chose que je fais au petit matin est d’écouter les informations autrichiennes. Je me sens lié au pays dans lequel j’ai grandi, j’observe ce qui s’y passe avec un mélange de curiosité et d’aversion.

J’avais de bonnes raisons pour tourner le dos à l’Autriche. Elles tenaient à l’ambiance qui régnait à l’époque : le sombre passé militaire de l’ancien secrétaire général des Nations unies (ONU) Kurt Waldheim avait été révélé au grand jour, et le peuple autrichien l’avait élu à la tête de l’Etat en 1986, sous le slogan « Maintenant plus que jamais ! …  Seguir leyendo »

Far-right leader Jörg Haider paying tribute to Austrian Nazi veterans, Ulrichsberg, Austria, October 1, 2000. Patrick Zachmann/Magnum Photos.

Could Austria become the first Western European country since World War II to have a far-right president? Amid the shock over the Brexit vote, few have noted the extraordinary sequence of events that have played out in this wealthy social democracy. On May 22, Norbert Hofer of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party lost the race for the Austrian presidency by around 31,000 votes to Alexander Van der Bellen of the Green Party. On June 8, the Freedom Party contested that result, alleging several irregularities, among them the premature opening of mail ballots and the release of election data to the media too early.…  Seguir leyendo »

El mes pasado, Austria evitó por muy poco la elección de un presidente del xenófobo Partido de la Libertad. Por cierto, el Partido de la Libertad hoy cuestiona el resultado. Dada la naturaleza preocupante del desafío populista, y sus implicaciones para la política europea y el manejo de la crisis de refugiados, es importante diagnosticar lo que afecta a Austria, para que la cura no termine siendo peor que la enfermedad.

Austria alguna vez fue elogiada como el vecino más exitoso de Alemania, uno de los países de más rápido crecimiento de Europa. Pero su economía ha venido a los tumbos desde 2012.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Monday afternoon, Austrian officials announced that voters had chosen Alexander Van der Bellen, a former leader of the Green Party, as president, narrowly defeating Norbert Hofer of the far-right Freedom Party in one of Europe’s most closely watched elections in years.

It was a close call for Austria; Mr. Hofer would have been Europe’s first far-right head of state since World War II. But for the Freedom Party, there is victory in defeat: Not only did Mr. Hofer make it to the second round of voting, easily outpolling candidates from the center right and center left, but the result was down to the wire — he was ahead on Sunday night, before absentee votes were counted.…  Seguir leyendo »

Peu importe le résultat définitif de l’élection présidentielle, l’Autriche a opéré un tournant historique d’une ampleur inimaginable. Pour mesurer le changement, il suffit de rappeler quelques chiffres : entre 1945 et 1983, le parti social-démocrate (SPÖ) et le parti conservateur (ÖVP) réunissaient entre 91 % et 95 % des voix. La décrue commence en 1986, l’année de l’élection controversée de Kurt Waldheim (ÖVP) et de l’entrée en scène de Jörg Haider comme nouveau patron du Parti libéral d’Autriche (FPÖ). La part des deux partis que l’on accusait d’avoir installé une « dictature bipartite » basée sur le clientélisme diminue régulièrement : de 84 % en 1986, elle descend à 75 %, 62 % et 60 %, pour finir à 50 % en 2013.…  Seguir leyendo »