The Austrian Socialist Party of Chancellor Bruno Kreisky has won an historic but narrow victory in the general elections held yesterday (10 October).
The Austrian Socialist Party of Chancellor Bruno Kreisky has won an historic but narrow victory in the general elections held yesterday (10 October). Five million Austrians voted yesterday for 183 seats in Parliament and provisional results gave the Socialists 93, the Peoples Party 80 and the Freedom Party 10. However, late returns by postal votes could mean a drop of one seat from the Socialists in winning over 50 per cent of the votes cast could be dampened and Dr. Kreisky might be compelled into seeking a coalition with the opposition parties. The Socialist Party is currently holding talks on the prospect of forming a viable administration alone.
Dr. Kreisky, Austria's first Socialist Chancellor, has governed the nation for the past sixteen months with a Socialist minority in Parliament. His aim in calling the elections was to achieve a decisive overall majority.
SYNOPSIS: For the past 16 months, Austria's Chancellor, Dr. Bruno Kreisky has governed the nation with a Socialist minority in Parliament. In order to achieve an overall Socialist majority, he called general elections on Sunday.
Over five million Austrians went to the polls to cast their votes for the three parties represented in Parliament, the Socialists, the Conservative Peoples Party and the rightwing Freedom Party.
The voter turnout of over 90 per cent gave an historic but narrow victory to Dr. Kreisky's Socialists. Provisional results gave the Socialists 93 seats in Parliament. The Peoples Party won 80 seats and the Freedom Party ten. However, late returns by mail could alter the situation and the Freedom Party could pick up one of the Socialist seats. This is the first time in Austria that a party has won a majority with such a slender lead as to cause the Socialists problems in creating a viable administration alone.
It is this problem that Dr. Kraisky is now dealing with. He will be meeting with Socialist Party officials to determine whether the party will go it alone in ruling, or will seek a coalition with the opposition parties. Officials in the opposition parties have said they are open to proposals from the Socialists.
Leader of the once powerful Peoples Party, Dr. Karl Schleinzer failed to imprint a new image of the party to the Austrian electorate. The Peoples Party has dominated Austria's political history until their defeat to the Socialists last year.
But despite the Socialists slim victory in the election, Dr. Kreisky seems set to govern the people for the next four years.