There was some rare good news for Austria’s Social Democrats (SPO) as they turned in an excellent performance in the regional election in Kaernten (Carinthia) yesterday. With nearly 48 per cent of the votes the SPO came within a whisker of an absolute majority in the parliament in Klagenfurt, close to the southern border with Slovenia. A surge in support of 11 percentage points helped the party gain four seats in the 36-strong assembly, where it now has exactly half the membership.
Consolidating in second place, Austria’s populist party the FPO saw its vote share rise 6 points to 23 per cent and gained three seats. The centre-right People’s Party (OVP) of national leader Sebastian Kurz failed to follow up on a good performance in Tirol province last weekend and almost stood still in vote share. However electoral arithmetic meant the OVP did gain a single seat.
The big losers in yesterday’s election were the Greens, who slumped from 12 to 3 per cent and lost all of their five seats. The New Austria (NEOS) party, contesting this regional election for the first time, failed to crossed the threshold for representation, winning just 2 per cent support. ‘Team Kaernten’, the local continuation of the now-defunct populist ‘Team Stronach’ saw its vote share halve but managed to hang to three seats.
Turnout was down by 6 percentage points on 2013.
Only one opinion poll was published during the campaign period, by OGM for the Kleine Zeitung newspaper (22 February). It placed the Social Democrats on 44 per cent, the Freedom Party on 24 per cent, and the People’s Party on 18 per cent. OGM correctly anticipated the fall of the Greens, reporting just 2.5 per cent support for the party.
KAERNTEN 4 March 2018
Landtag, per cent and total votes
(change on 2013 election in brackets)
Five year term
SPO (Social Democrats) 47.94% (+10.81) or 140,994 votes
FPO (Freedom Party) 22.96% (+6.11) or 67,538
OVP (People’s Party) 15.45% (+1.05) or 45,438
TK (Team Kaernten) 5.67% (-5.51) or 16,667
Gruene (Greens) 3.12% (-8.98) or 9,188
NEOS (New Austria) 2.14% (n/a) or 6,307
ERDE 1.85% (n/a) or 5,441
KPO (Communist Party) 0.28% (n/a) or 822
FAIR 0.21% (n/a) or 622
Eligible voters 434,121
Total votes 297,918
Invalid votes 3,826
Valid votes 294,092 (98.72%)
Turnout: 68.63% (2013: 75.15%)
Seat allocations in Landtag
(change on 2013 in brackets)
SPO 18 (+4)
FPO 9 (+3)
OVP 6 (+1)
TK 3 (-1)
Greens 0 (-5)
NEOS 0 (n/a)
Others 0 (-2)
Total seats: 36 (previously 36)
Source: Land Kaernten. Full provisional official results here.
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