Austria – Rote Fahne: EU election: a rejection of the political course of the ruling

On Sunday, June 9, the EU election in Austria took place. Rarely before has the drum for an EU election been beaten so hard – it was presented as an all–decisive “choice of direction”. The big losers in this election are the governing parties ÖVP and Greens, but also the SPÖ, whose “new beginning” has been awaited for a year under Babler. However, it was not the parties themselves that were punished – that too – but rather the political course of the rulers: armament, warmongering and social deterioration.

ÖVP and Greens: government in a political crisis

With around minus 10 percent, the ÖVP entered its worst election result in an EU election. Compared to the EU election in 2019, they lost around 450,000 votes-measured in real figures, they lost a third of the votes from 2019. The fact that they were still celebrating because of the “second place” is mainly to be considered a tragedy. Like no other party, the ÖVP represents the developments in recent years: Corona measures policy, hollowing out neutrality and armament, inflation, as well as democracy and social cuts. In view of the economic and political situation, it cannot be assumed that this course will change significantly, but will also be tightened. At the EU election in 2019, the ÖVP was short of 34.55 percent and also celebrated national success. The result of this EU election shows that it did not manage to stabilize only part of the voter base acquired during this time – on the contrary: it got even worse in 2024 than in the 2014 election.

The Greens are not only part of one of the majority of increasingly hated government, but – what the case Schilling showed – also have internal contradictions and fights. So it happened that the top candidate Schilling had to be lined up because the rare case has occurred that the second-ranked candidate, Waitz, received tens of thousands more votes and thus takes over the lead of the delegation.

SPÖ loses almost 100,000 votes

After over a year that the SPÖ has announced a “new course” and a “social democratic new beginning” under Babler, the party leaders are still awaiting it to date. The result of the EU election has shown that it was only the old and that the crisis of social democracy continues. Although the SPÖ lost just under 0.7 percent compared to the EU election in 2019, 85,000 less in real votes. Compared to the last National Council election, the SPÖ has received 300,000 less votes. As in numerous elections before, it shows that a large part of the population does not believe the lies of social democracy that it would be for “social justice”, “neutrality” and “workers’ rights” – and rightly so. The SPÖ is a party of capital and not a “red” or “Marxist” coat of paint will change something! The fact that the FPÖ has started the “tripple-race” for chancellorship, to show Babler as a “Bolshevik” and “Marxists”, only shows the cheap political tricks: because Babler is obviously at the forefront when it comes to power and success to become war supporters and representatives of monopoly capitalist interests! The result of the EU election indicates that the crisis of social democracy will be further tightened and was only a small foretaste of the National Council election in autumn.

FPÖ as the “specter” of the elites?

If you look at the past few years, you might think that the SPÖ and Greens (and sometimes also the ÖVP) are the best campaign supporters for the FPÖ. The “specter” of a “right backlash” certainly contributed to the fact that the FPÖ was able to stage itself as a “party of change” and “EU opponents”. This election result has also confirmed that the FPÖ is not the “specter” of the “elites”, because the FPÖ is actually a very important force for the capital for the legitimation of the EU (even with all criticism!) And the EU election as a supposed possibility of “democratic participation”. The FPÖ was the only force in this choice, which was able to bring former EU native voters to election – 100,000 who did not vote for the EU election in 2019 were mobilized by the FPÖ to this spectacle. The FPÖ is therefore an important party for the ruling in order to keep and integrate the frustrated and criticism “on the shelf”. The FPÖ also represents a parliamentary group of the ruling, even if it is probably the most critical of the EU. In this context, however, it must also be mentioned that the FPÖ will disappoint many of its voters because it will also fit into the general EU course, albeit with a different note and other accents, in many points. A tendency that “right -wing parties” are also increasingly “socially acceptable” is shown by the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the French National Rally (RN) under Le Pen. For example, Meloni has long supported the military support of the EU for Ukraine, so it is only a recent development that Le Pen moves away from previous attitudes. Before the EU election, she departed from the request of an EU exit and the RN also stamped, before the background of the Ukraine War, its longstanding demand for France’s withdrawal from the command structure of NATO.

The number of FPÖ’s mobilization potential of non-voters must also be viewed in a differentiated manner. Because while she brought 100,000 non-voters to the ballot box compared to the EU election in 2019, she “lost” 234,000 votes to the non-voters compared to the last National Council election. In numbers, the FPÖ was not the strongest force in the EU choice, it was a total of around 2.9 million non-voters, which is more than three times as many as the FPÖ received.

Non-voters as the strongest “party”

The fact that despite everything the “majority” would be positive about the EU and the EU election is considered an “important democratic decision-making possibility”, cannot be said. If you collect all votes from ÖVP, SPÖ and FPÖ, this results in around 2.6 million, which is still below the number of non-voters.

Of course, it is not true that there would be a change in the sense of the oppressed and exploited parts of the population due to absention. However, it is an important indication of the extent to which this supposedly “democratic process” is also seen by the population as such. And in this sense, these numbers speak volumes. For example, if you look at Croatia that had a turnout of 21.3 percent (!) (Or Bulgaria with 31.8 percent), it is only to argue with the help of lies that such an election result is representative of the “will” of the population. Elections with such a low participation as it is considered “normal” in the EU elections are only further proof that this type of “democracy” is only suitable for the ruling as a playground against the population.

KPÖ: Party of the faithful EU compliance?

With around three percent (100,000 votes), the KPÖ has actually achieved a considerable result in an EU election. However, it is also noteworthy that she could hardly use her election sequence at the local level for the EU election. In the last municipal council election in Graz, the KPÖ was the strongest force with 28.8 percent, but only 6.8 percent chose the KPÖ in the EU election. Likewise in Salzburg: While the KPÖ was the second strongest party in the municipal council election 2024 with 23.12 percent, it received only 6.2 percent of the votes in the EU election in the city of Salzburg. On the one hand, this shows that it is chosen primarily at the local level, on the other hand, that the election results in the federal states cannot simply be passed on to the national (or EU) level.

At the local level, the KPÖ, especially with the question of rents, can apparently present itself as a “opposition party”. At the EU level, the KPÖ is involved in the main questions with the main course of the imperialists and the most important party representatives present themselves as petting soft and arbitrary: be it in the armament and war question, in Ukraine policy, in the question of democracy and social cuts, … It is not surprising that it was only the KPÖ whose voters in a survey in the following statement “Austria should leave the EU” agreed to zero per cent(!), while even at the Greens voters five percent expressed this opinion.1

EU election boycott: No voice to the war strikers!

In the run to the EU election, there were numerous actions on the “active boycott” of the election, in Austria in particular through the “Action for Democratic Rights of the People” [Link] (ADRV), which under the slogan “No vote to the warmongers” called for the unification of the population. Strongly interconnected with the solidarity movement with Palestine posters and leaflets were widespread. At this point we would like to quote from the call: “There is talk of ‘peace-union, justice and solidarity’ – but the EU stands for the opposite. We call up for the boycott of the EU election, but not to passivity, nor to sit still or remain silent. Especially in defense of democratic and social rights, we call up to unite: do not vote, but resist and combat!” This call is still also up to date!, Wahlverhalten zur EU-Wahl

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