Infighting Causes Government Collapse
On July 7, 2008, the Austrian government
collapsed after months of struggling between the two major political
parties, the Social Democratic Party and the People's Party. Elections are
expected to be held in September. The chancellor, Alfred Gusenbauer,
announced that he would not run for reelection. The new Social Democratic
Party leader and transport minister, Werner Faymann, will be the Social
In September 2008, the right-wing parties made
tremendous gains in parliamentary elections. The Social Democratic Party
of Austria won 29.3% of the vote (57 of 183 seats), the Austrian People's
Party 26% (51), the Freedom Party of Austria 17.5% (34), the Alliance for
the Future of Austria 10.7% (21), the Greens 10.4% (20), and the Liberal
Forum 2.1% (0). Turnout was 78.8%. On October 8, 2008, Faymann was asked by President Fischer to form a new government.
On October 11, 2008, during a crucial time in
Austrian politics, the leader of the far-right Alliance for the Future of
Austria, Jorg Haider, died in a car crash. On November 23, 2008, a coalition was agreed upon. Faymann began serving as Chancellor of Austria on December 2, 2008.
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes:
Central Statistical Office (In German Only)
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