Austria's Social Democratic leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner resigns

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Austria's Social Democratic leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner resigns
The former leader of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPOe) Pamela Rendi-Wagner arrives at Hofburg Palace for post-election TV debates in Vienna, Austria, on September 29, 2019 (Photo by VLADIMIR SIMICEK / AFP)

After disappointing results in the SPÖ member survey, SPÖ federal party chairwoman Pamela Rendi-Wagner has announced her resignation.


Pamela Rendi-Wagner, an Austrian politician who had been leading the main opposition party, the centre-left SPÖ, since late 2018, announced her decision to step down from her position at a press conference on Tuesday.

She said she will not seek re-election as party chairwoman at the upcoming party congress on June 3rd. Rendi-Wagner acknowledged that the party members' vote favoured Hans Peter Doskozil, the governor of Burgenland, as head of the Red party.

Rendi-Wagner expressed her respect for the outcome of the vote, even though it was a close result. She thanked her team for their support during her four-year tenure and expressed gratitude to all the members, including those who did not vote for her, emphasising the importance of every vote cast for the future of social democracy.

BACKGROUND: Austrian elections: Who will be the Social Democratic Party’s chancellor candidate?

The politician announced that on Tuesday, the praesidium and federal party executive committee of the SPÖ will convene. During that meeting, Rendi-Wagner will propose a smooth transition of party leadership and parliamentary leadership. She also mentioned inviting Traiskirchen Mayor Andreas Babler to join the committees, along with Hans Peter Doskozil, with the shared objective of restoring a Social Democratic-led federal government in the country.

Rendi-Wagner did not comment on whether she intends to remain in the National Council or retire from politics altogether.


Disappointing results

The results of the SPÖ membership poll disappointed Rendi-Wagner supporters because she came in third place behind Doskozil and Babler. Doskozil received 33.68 percent of the votes, Babler won 31.51 percent, and Rendi-Wagner secured 31.35 percent. A small percentage, 3.46 percent, voted against all three options.

Michaela Grubesa, the election director, revealed that 147,993 SPÖ members were eligible to vote, with a total of 107,133 questionnaires submitted. Among these, 106,952 were validly completed, while 181 votes were invalid, resulting in a voter turnout of 72.39 percent.

It is important to note that the members' vote is advisory and not binding, but the SPÖ leadership is expected to follow the vote results.

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Doskozil, who first challenged Rendi-Wagner for the position, expressed his gratitude for the significant voter turnout and first-place position in an initial reaction on Monday, according to broadcaster ORF. Later, during a press conference, he emphasised the democratic nature of the election and respected the majority's decision.


Doskozil stated that had he come in second place with only one vote difference, he would have accepted the outcome and "acted accordingly". He said he hoped that the federal party committees would also handle the situation in a similar manner during their meeting on Tuesday.



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