What’s next for Austria after Chancellor Faymann’s resignation?

Chancellor Werner Faymann has resigned. Why this resignation in your opinion and why now and do you think Austrians should prepare themselves for an early election? Read few comments.

Werner Faymann  who has been Chancellor of Austria from 2008 to 2016. Credit: http://www.werner-faymann.at/

Werner Faymann who has been Chancellor of Austria from 2008 to 2016. Credit: http://www.werner-faymann.at/

Reinhard Heinisch, Professor of Austrian Politics in Comparative European Perspective, Department of Political Science, Chair, University of Salzburg

The SPÖ has 2 main problems it can’t resolve and it is split not only between two wings but the different sub-units of the party like the sp-unions are themselves split:

1)      whether or not to cooperate with the FPÖ

2)      how to deal with the refugee situation

The current chancellor was unable to provide a bridge or compromise because he had lost standing and he could not devise a way forward. The losses the party suffered in the 1st round of the pres. elections created an urgent need to address this issue, as the divides could no longer be papered over.

Then the 2nd round of the pres. elections on May 22 might result in a new president who might not be inclined to accept a new SP chancellor, so the party wanted to get this question resolved before while a social democrat is still the chancellor.

New elections look now more likely because it is not clear whether the coalition partner the ÖVP will want to continue with another person at the top. BUT the only stabilizing aspect is that neither SPÖ nor ÖVP would want elections now because they are far behind the FPÖ in all the polls (30% vs. 23, 24%). The main problem for the SPÖ is that there are no obvious successors neither for the post of chancellor nor for SPÖ leader – this is the first time in decades that this happening in the SPÖ.

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