SPÖ wins back Klagenfurt mayor seat

SPÖ wins back Klagenfurt mayor seat
Maria-Luise Mathiaschitz. Photo: APA/EGGENBERGER
The Social Democratic party (SPÖ) has won the mayoral election in Klagenfurt, Carinthia, with 53 percent of the vote.

Maria Luise Mathiaschitz beat incumbent mayor Christian Scheider (FPÖ) in a run-off vote, winning back the seat for the SPÖ after 42 years. It’s also the first time that Klagenfurt has elected a female mayor.

A total of 41,745 votes were cast, with Scheider winning 46.69 percent.

Mathiaschitz, a 58-year-old doctor, has said she intends to form a coalition with the ÖVP and the Greens, to ensure a stable majority.

In a press release Carinthia’s SPÖ governor Peter Kaiser spoke of a "historic victory" for the Social Democrats. Chancellor Werner Faymann and SPÖ national manager Norbert Darabos said in a press release it was a "great result" and "a great day for Carinthian social democracy".

Carinthia, Austria’s poorest province, faces possible bankruptcy after acting as a guarantor on loans for defunct lender Hypo Alpe Adria.

The financial mess has been blamed on the state government under Jörg Haider, the Freedom Party leader who died in a 2008 car crash.

The debt guarantee amounts to €10.2 billion – five times Carinthia's annual budget.

There is no precedent for a province going bankrupt, so it is unclear what lie ahead for the region, with its population of about 500,000.

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