January 26, 2023 16:57 GMT
Chancellor's OVP Faces Stiff Challenge In State Election
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The governing centre-right People's Party (OVP) of Chancellor Karl Nehammer faces a difficult election on Sunday 29 January as it seeks to retain its narrow majority in the country's largest state, Lower Austria. Opinion polls point to the OVP losing its majority in the regional parliament, forcing it into coalition with either the right-wing nationalist Freedom Party (FPO) or the environmentalist Greens (the latter also govern with the OVP at the federal level).
- The Austrian gov't has garnered headlines at the EU level in recent weeks following the chancellor's veto on Bulgaria joining the Schengen area. This block was seen as an attempt to shore up support on the right as polling numbers for the FPO have continued to climb.
- A poor election result for the OVP could place further pressure on Nehammer and his uneasy coalition with the Greens. While the next election is not due until 2024, fissures in the OVP-Green administration could presage a snap election.
Chart 1. Lower Austria Opinion Polling, % and 2-Poll Moving Average
Source: IFDD, OGM, Market, Unique Research, MNI