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Backlash Rises Against ÖVP As Coalition w/FPÖ Looms In Lower Austria

AUSTRIA

The centre-right Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), which governs as the senior partner in the federal coalition, is facing a growing backlash as the prospect of the formation of a regional gov't with the right-wing nationalist Freedom Party (FPÖ) in the state of Lower Austria grows. The next federal election is not due until autumn 2024, but the willingness of the ÖVP to work with the FPÖ at the state level has led to speculation that the party could once again enter into gov't with the right at the federal level.

  • The ÖVP lost its majority in the regional parliament of Lower Austria in the 29 January state election. Local reports state that the ÖVP and FPÖ are on the brink of announcing a coalition deal, which would create a second 'black-blue' coalition alongside the existing gov't in Upper Austria. President of the Jewish Community in Vienna Oskar Deutsch has criticised the potential development, saying for the ÖVP "There is a risk of a massive loss of credibility."
  • The FPÖ has governed previously both with the ÖVP and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPÖ) at the federal level but only as the junior partner. The party is seen by opponents to have shifted notably to the right in recent years, raising concerns among opponents that it could be in a position to lead the next federal coalition should the ÖVP acquiesce.
Chart 1. General Election Opinion Polling, % and 5-Poll Moving Average

Source: INSA, OGM, Unique Research, Peter Hajek, Market-Lazarsfeld, IFDD, MNI

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The centre-right Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), which governs as the senior partner in the federal coalition, is facing a growing backlash as the prospect of the formation of a regional gov't with the right-wing nationalist Freedom Party (FPÖ) in the state of Lower Austria grows. The next federal election is not due until autumn 2024, but the willingness of the ÖVP to work with the FPÖ at the state level has led to speculation that the party could once again enter into gov't with the right at the federal level.

  • The ÖVP lost its majority in the regional parliament of Lower Austria in the 29 January state election. Local reports state that the ÖVP and FPÖ are on the brink of announcing a coalition deal, which would create a second 'black-blue' coalition alongside the existing gov't in Upper Austria. President of the Jewish Community in Vienna Oskar Deutsch has criticised the potential development, saying for the ÖVP "There is a risk of a massive loss of credibility."
  • The FPÖ has governed previously both with the ÖVP and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPÖ) at the federal level but only as the junior partner. The party is seen by opponents to have shifted notably to the right in recent years, raising concerns among opponents that it could be in a position to lead the next federal coalition should the ÖVP acquiesce.
Chart 1. General Election Opinion Polling, % and 5-Poll Moving Average

Source: INSA, OGM, Unique Research, Peter Hajek, Market-Lazarsfeld, IFDD, MNI