• Austria's news in English

Regional elections see seismic shift to Blue

The Local/AFP · 27 Sep 2015, 18:51

Published: 27 Sep 2015 18:51 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The populist right-wing Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ -- Blue) made stunning gains in regional elections on Sunday on the back of fears over the migrant crisis.

The FPÖ gained 31.4 percent of the vote in the state of Upper Austria, the country's industrial heartland, according to results after 16 percent of the ballots were counted.

The corresponding figure in the last elections in 2009 was 15.3 percent.

"We were optimistic since the start," said FPÖ chief Hans-Christian Strache, adding that the results so far had "exceeded our expectations."

However the conservative Christian Democrats (ÖVP -- Black) retained their lead at 35.5 percent: a drop of more than 11 points so far. 

In recent months Austria has become a major transit country for tens of thousands of migrants entering from Hungary -- having travelled up the western Balkans -- bound for northern Europe, in particular Germany.

But 8.5-million-strong Austria also expects around 80,000 asylum claims this year, a high number compared to other European Union countries on a per capita basis, and Vienna has been a major proponent of EU quotas.

Analysts at Austria's Public Opinion Strategies said fears over the migrant crisis shaped voting patterns in Upper Austria, the fourth biggest state in terms of geographical size.

Story continues below…

The vote comes two weeks ahead of elections in the city state of Vienna, a bastion of the Social Democrats (SPÖ -- Red) for decades but which has seen a rise in support for the far-right.

The Freedom Party already made significant gains in regional elections in Styria, encouraging Strache to set his sights on becoming Vienna's new mayor in elections later this year.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/AFP (news.austria@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'UFO' sightings in skies above Vienna and Graz
File image of an alleged UFO. Photo: Flickr/Dimapolo

Worried Austrians called police and posted videos online after sighting a UFO-like device above the capital Vienna.

Austrian police rescue 47 puppies from animal smuggler
Photo: Landespolizeidirektion Burgenland

Austrian police have seized 47 puppies found in a car at the Hungarian border.

Call for FPÖ chief's Facebook page to be shut
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The Austrian lawyer who filed a criminal case against the leader of the Freedom Party for inciting hatred has called for his Facebook page to be shut down.

Female terror suspect 'planned suicide attack'
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Police have arrested the wife of a Chechen terror suspect after they found evidence that the pair were planning a suicide attack in Austria.

'Death must be Viennese', and not just at Halloween
Prater amusement features memento mori. Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Dominik Creazzi, "Paranormal Investigator" embossed on his jacket, strains his ears among the decaying tombstones of Vienna's central cemetery, the last resting place of three million mortals from Beethoven to "Rock Me Amadeus" singer Falco.

ECJ puts brakes on deportation of Iraqi family
Photo: ORF

An Iraqi family threatened with deportation has been granted a brief reprieve after the European Court of Justice recommended they be allowed to stay in Austria for the time being.

Flats evacuated after man swallows explosive substance
A decontamination squad was ordered in. Photo: MA 68 Lichtbildstelle

A block of flats in Vienna had to be evacuated after a suicidal resident swallowed a highly toxic and explosive substance.

'Horror clown' threatens bus driver in Vienna's Donaustadt
Pennywise, the original scary clown from the movie It. Photo: Warner Bros

A man disguised as a ‘horror clown’ threatened a bus driver in Vienna’s Donaustadt district and vandalised the bus.

Man lived with body of murdered lover for weeks

A man has been arrested in Graz after police discovered the body of his girlfriend hidden in the shower cubicle of their rented apartment.

Austrian far-right leader brands Merkel 'dangerous'
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The head of Austria's far-right Freedom Party has branded Angela Merkel Europe's most dangerous politician.

12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available