Austrian Communist Party wins local election in Graz

There is a new leading political party in the Styrian capital after the KPÖ (Communist Party of Austria) took the lead in the municipal council elections.

Austrian Communist Party wins local election in Graz
A pro-KPÖ rally in Vienna in 2018. Von Haeferl - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Graz KPÖ leader Elke Kahr is starting talks with all parties in Styria after the party was voted in as the winner of the local elections on Monday.

The party won by nine percentage points and 28.8 percent ahead of the ÖVP – surprising many experts and political commentators. 

The KPÖ is now the leading party in Graz with 15 seats in the municipal council and three seats in the city senate. The party now needs to find a third city councillor to sit alongside Kahr and Robert Krotzer.

Following the announcement of the election results, Kahr told ZIB 2 on Monday evening that she had “received hundreds of emails, text messages and calls” in support of her also becoming Mayor of Graz.

READ MORE: New Covid-sceptic party enters Austrian parliament

However, if she was to become Mayor, Kahr said she would accept the position not just for those that voted for her, but for everyone in Graz.

From today (Tuesday 28th September), Kahr will be holding talks with the other political parties in the city with a plan to reveal further details about any cooperation on Friday. Kahr has ruled out cooperation with the FPÖ.

The ORF reports the talks could be exciting because the KPÖ and the Greens have 24 seats in the 48-person municipal council, so they need the support of a third party, with many predicting it could be the Social Democrats (SPÖ).

In Graz, the ÖVP now has 13 seats in the municipal council, the Greens have nine, the FPÖ has five, the SPÖ at four and the NEOS have two.

Mayor and ÖVP candidate Siegfried Nagl resigned after the announcement of the result.

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Austrian ex-minister who danced with Putin quits Russian oil company Rosneft

Austrian ex-foreign minister Karin Kneissl, who once danced with Russian President Vladimir Putin at her wedding, has quit a board position at Russian oil giant Rosneft, the company said Monday.

Austrian ex-minister who danced with Putin quits Russian oil company Rosneft

Kneissl has submitted a letter of resignation effective from Friday, Rosneft said in a statement.

The 57-year-old made headlines when she invited Putin to her wedding in 2018 and was photographed dancing with him during the event.

She left the Austrian government the following year and joined the board of Rosneft as an independent director in June last year.

Her resignation comes after Rosneft announced Friday that German ex-chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was leaving the board after five years, a day after Germany stripped him of official perks over ties with Russia. 

On Friday, Kneissl told AFP that she intended to stay on for her one-year mandate but had told Rosneft in March that she would not seek a further term on the board. Kneissl’s personal website includes several interviews to RT, a Russian state-funded news organisation, the latest two days before Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine on February 24.

Rosneft in its statement thanked Kneissl for her work during the “complex” international situation, saying it was counting on future collaboration with her as an expert.