In yesterday’s elections in the state of Burgenland, the Social Democrats obtained 50% (up 8 percentage points), earning an absolute majority.
The win bucks the party’s recent downward trend: it obtained a record low of 21.2% of the votes in the recent national polls and has been falling behind the Greens in the polls ever since.
Observers attribute the victory to the leading candidate, Hans-Peter Doskozil. The former defence minister is the most viable candidate to become the SPÖ’s new leader, though he repeatedly denied any ambitions in that regard.
But even if he stays in Burgenland, his victory could bring a shift in the party’s strategy nonetheless. Doskozil, a leading figure on the SPÖ’s right, has a tougher stance on migration than the current SPÖ leadership.
In Burgenland, he has previously led the sole state-level coalition (at the time) between the SPÖ and the far-right FPÖ.