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01 June 2015

Historic election gains for FPÖ in Styria


The Social Democrats (SPÖ) and conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) have been left licking their wounds after a historic drubbing in Styria's state elections on Sunday. The pro-White Freedom Party made significant gains, increasing its share of the vote by 16,3 percent.


It’s unclear whether the current SPÖ/ÖVP coalition can continue to govern and there has been speculation that governor Franz Voves (SPÖ) may resign.

His party lost 9.1 percent of its support base in Styria, and now has just 29.2 percent. The ÖVP lost 8.7 percent, winning just 28.5 percent of the votes. The FPÖ got 27.1 percent of votes.

The issue of immigration featured heavily in Freedom Party candidate Mario Kunasek’s campaign, with posters asking if people felt like "a stranger in their own country?"

Kunasek said he was overjoyed with the election result: "We have not only achieved our goal of gaining our best ever result in Styria, we’ve surpassed it." He added that he was determined to be part of the governing coalition. "This exclusion policy against us and therefore the majority of Styrians must end."

31 percent of voters under 30 supported the FPÖ in Styria, whereas 23 percent voted SPÖ. The majority of voters aged over 50 supported the SPÖ (35 percent), and 21 percent the FPÖ.

FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache said the result was a taste of things to come, with regional elections taking place in Vienna and Upper Austria in the autumn, and immigration a hot topic in both states. 

State elections in Burgenland also took place on Sunday, with the SPÖ getting the most votes but losing 6.4 percent of its support. Governor Hans Niessl had expected to win an absolute majority but must now hold talks with other parties to discuss a coalition. The ÖVP lost 5.5 percent and the FPÖ made gains of 6 percent.