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AUSTRIA

In a world-first, Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg has confirmed that from Monday 15 November all citizens that are not fully vaccinated will be locked down to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

  • Enforcing the lockdown is likely to prove a difficult task, and the relatively high levels of vaccine scepticism in Austria risks the move backfiring should vaccine-sceptic parties note a major boost in support.
  • While the next election is not due until 2024, the senior partner in the governing coalition - the centre-right People's Party (OVP) - continues to struggle following the ouster of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in October. Should the junior partner in the coalition - the environmentalist Greens - pull the plug it could result in a snap election.
  • The OVP's polling support has collapsed in the wake of the corruption scandal that claimed Kurz's head to the point where they now lead the centre-left Social Democrats (SPO) by just 1-2%. This compares to a 13-15% lead in the summer.
  • The right-wing Freedom Party (FPO) have recorded a spike in support from their 2020 nadir of around 10%, to around 20% now, with the party's increasingly vocal vaccine/vaccine mandate scepticism aiding their cause with a section of Austrian society.
  • Given the number of parties polling around 20-25%, it is unclear what the likely outcome of a snap election would be.
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-0981 | tom.lake@marketnews.com

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