Austria’s centre-right People’s Party (OVP) achieved its expected victory in parliamentary elections on Sunday. Provisional final results, published only this morning after the counting of an unprecedented number of postal votes, showed Sebastian Kurz’s rebranded party winning 31.5 per cent of the vote, up 7.5 points from 2013 and enough to gain 15 extra seats in the Vienna Nationalrat.
The race for second was just as close as the opinion polls had anticipated, with the Social Democrats (SPO) finishing narrowly ahead of the populist right-wing Freedom Party (FPO). After a near-disastrous campaign, maintaining an unchanged vote share of 26.9 per cent and keeping all 52 seats was something of an achievement for the SPO. The FPO by contrast was a clear winner, gaining 11 seats and putting on 350,000 votes to reach 26 per cent.
Big losers were the divided Greens, wiped out from parliament having finished marginally below the 4 per cent threshold, and now facing huge budgetary and staff cuts as a consequence. One main source of their troubles, defector Peter Pilz, scraped into parliament with 4.4 per cent and 11 seats. The New Austria party (NEOS) held its own despite earlier fears of losing its parliamentary status.
Coalition building in the 183-strong Nationalrat now begins, with the seat allocations showing three theoretical possibilities involving the largest parties – but most analysts are betting on an OVP-FPO government emerging under Kurz’s fresh-faced leadership.
Turnout was a very healthy 79.4 per cent, up 4.5 points and continuing the trend towards increased participation seen in many European elections in 2017. The provisional official results below may be subject to further minor adjustments in the days to come.
AUSTRIA 15 October 2017
Nationalrat, per cent of vote
(change on 2013 election in brackets)
OVP (People’s Party) 31.5 (+7.5) or 1,586,106 votes
SPO (Social Democrats) 26.9 (nc) or 1,351,918
FPO (Freedom Party) 26.0 (+5.5) or 1,310,614
Neos (New Austria) 5.3 (+0.3) or 264,317
‘Liste Pilz’ 4.4 (n/a) or 220,088
Gruene (Greens) 3.8 (-8.7) or 189,467
Others 2.2 (-9.1) or 110,318
Eligible voters 6,400,998
Total votes 5,083,348
Invalid votes 50,520
Valid votes 5,032,828
Turnout 79.4% (2013: 74.9%)
Seat allocations in Nationalrat
OVP 62 (+15)
SPO 52 (nc)
FPO 51 (+11)
NEOS 10 (+1)
Liste Pilz 8 (n/a)
Greens 0 (-24)
Others 0 (nc)
Total seats 183 (previously 183)
Source: Bundesministerium fuer Inneres. Full provisional official results here.
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