While the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) had been leading the polls ever since former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz took over in 2017, the party is currently caught in a downward spiral due to Kurz’s fall from grace over corruption allegations.
A progressive coalition on the centre-left is now a possibility – for the first time in decades.
While the ÖVP has consistently polled between 30% and 40% since Kurz’s rise to power, recent polling suggests that the party is now down to between 24% and 26%. The Social Democrats are at 24%, and the right-wing FPÖ, in freefall since being embroiled in their own corruption scandal in 2019, have recovered to 21%.
The Greens, currently in a coalition with the ÖVP, were not affected by the government crisis that ended in Kurz’s resignation and are consistently polling at 12% – head-to-head with the liberal NEOS also at 12%.
The polling predicts a majority on the centre-left between the liberal NEOS, the Social Democrats and the Greens, a first for many years. A similar progressive coalition is currently underway in Germany and could serve as a precedent.
The next Austrian general elections will be held in 2024 if the shaky coalition between the Greens and the ÖVP does not collapse beforehand. Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg, who was sworn into office last Monday, is currently launching a charm offensive to win back the trust of their coalition partner.
Schallenberg plans to remain chancellor until the end of the legislative turn. However, in an interview with Wiener Zeitung, Schallenberg stated that Kurz would be the lead candidate in the next election.
(Oliver Noyan | EURACTIV.de)