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Greens win 'Pass Egal' vote in Vienna

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Greens win 'Pass Egal' vote in Vienna
Photo: ORF
10:23 CEST+02:00
The Green party has won a symbolic election held in Vienna on Tuesday, in which non-Austrians resident in Vienna cast their vote ahead of the real election on Sunday.

A quarter of Vienna's population doesn't have Austrian citizenship and therefore can't vote in this weekend's election - which is seen as a duel between the ruling Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) which has been gaining steadily in the polls since the spring, thanks in part to the refugee crisis.

Around 180,000 Vienna residents who are not Austrian, but are citizens of an EU country, are allowed to cast a vote for their district councillor but not for the city council elections.

Around 220,000 people with passports from non-EU countries can't vote at all - regardless of how long they have lived in the city.

"1,223 people in Vienna who don't have an Austrian passport participated in our election," Alexander Pollack from non-profit organisation SOS Mitmensch said.

The Green party won an absolute majority of 50.86 percent, and the SPÖ came in second with 28.95 percent. The conservative People's Party (ÖVP) won only 1.23 percent and the FPÖ 0.82 percent.

The largest group of non-Austrians taking part in the 'Pass Egal' vote had German citizenship, followed by Italians. People with passports from 76 different countries took part.

Comedian Dirk Stermann cast his symbolic vote. The native German has lived in Austria for 25 years. “I think it makes sense to be able to vote in the place where you live. I don't actually care what happens in Germany, because I'm never there," he said.

SOS Mitmensch is calling for voting rights to be given to everyone who has lived in Vienna for three years or more. 

Slovenia allows foreigners with permanent residence to vote in local elections, and Slovakia allows three year residents local voting rights. Sweden also allows foreigners who have been resident for three years to vote in municipal and county elections.

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