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SPÖ Governor Backs Grand Coalition To Keep Right-Wing FPÖ From Power


Governor of the state of Carinthia, Peter Kaiser, has called for the resumption of a 'grand coalition' between the centre-right People's Party (ÖVP) and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPÖ) following federal elections taking place by the autumn. Kaiser, who hails from the SPÖ stated that “I believe that an SPÖ-ÖVP coalition would be good...I also say: Not at any price. Compromise sometimes offers the opportunity to move Austria forward." The prospect of a 'grand coalition' is seen as one of the few potential election outcomes that could keep the right-wing nationalist Freedom Party (FPÖ) - currently topping opinion polling - out of power.

  • 'Grand coalitions' between the two volkspartei are not uncommon in Austria. From 1987-2000 and 2007-2017, the SPÖ headed such a gov't, while the ÖVP led grand coalition gov'ts from 1945-1966.
  • The post-election composition of the National Council could make gov't formation without the FPÖ a difficult prospect. Should minor parties such as the far-left Communist Party (KPÖ) and the satirical Beer Party (BIER) cross the 4% nationwide electoral threshold (the KPÖ has polled as high as 7% and the Beer Party at 6%) then it would dilute the number of seats won by the main parties, making a two-party coalition a more difficult prospect.
  • This would risk a lengthy coalition formation process post-election and gov't paralysis, or a potentially unstable three-party coalition that struggles to reach agreement on policy-making.

Chart 1. Federal Election Opinion Polling, % and 6-Poll Moving Average

Source: INSA, OGM, Market-Lazarsfeld, Unique Research, MNI

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