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Author Topic: Austrian Elections & Politics 4.0  (Read 79469 times)
mileslunn
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« on: October 25, 2017, 11:29:09 am »

Today, VP/FP's first round of coalition talks took place:



It lasted about 3 hours and the atmosphere was described as "excellent".

In a joint press statement afterwards, Kurz and Strache said that they agreed on future meetings and the creation of subgroups and "issue clusters", which will include various experts on these topics.

The 5 cluster groups are:

* Social Issues (= Pensions, Welfare), Health Care, Fairness
* Economy
* Future (= Education, Infrastructure, Agriculture, Environment)
* Security and Defense
* State and Society (will include administrative reforms and EU issues)

They also agreed to a Kassasturz, which is a major budgetary assessment at the start of a new term and the foundation for their planned projects (revenues/outlays for planned tax cuts etc.) Experts from the Finance Ministry will compile this next week.



http://derstandard.at/2000066675346/Kurz-und-Strache-starten-Koalitionsgespraeche

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PS: There are also 4 state elections in 2018, all between January and April:

* Salzburg (my home state)
* Tyrol
* Lower Austria
* Carinthia

Who are the favoured in each state?  Asides from Carinthia, it seems the other three tend to favour OVP and with Kurz likely still in the honeymoon phase doubt the backlash will occur quite that early.  Greens might come in second in Tyrol as they tend to perform fairly well there but not nearly enough to win.  I think the SPO tends to do well in Carinthia, but so does the FPO so not sure what the polls are saying there.
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mileslunn
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2017, 03:32:25 pm »

While it will be too early in the mandate for any backlash, does Austria have a tendency for states to vote opposites of federal as often after 3 to 4 years you see this in many countries.  US and Canada right now have lower levels of governments of similar political stripes, but it was that way when both Harper and Obama came to power while by the time they left most lower levels were of the other political stripe and polls suggest in the next round of elections the Tories should do better in Canada provincially and Democrats in the US.  Australia is similar as in 2013 when the Liberals/National came to power you had mostly Liberals/National at the state level whereas now most states have Labor governments.  You also in 2007 had all Labor governments at state level, but by 2013 most swung back to Liberals/National.  Germany sort of has this and you do in Italian and French regional elections often see the party in opposition win more than lose and the same with local elections in the UK, so does Austria have this where people go opposites to balance things out or do they usually go the same way as they do federally or is there no correlation?
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mileslunn
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 11:20:41 am »

There were actually no districts with 80% or more for the "Right", even though some districts were flirting with it (78-79.5%).

Just like there were no 70%+ Norbert Hofer districts last year.

And there was only one district in Vienna which had 60%+ for the "Left".

So, our elections are not as lopsided like in the US, where you can find counties that voted 80-90% for Trump or 70-80% for Hillary ...

Still it seems Austria as a whole is fairly lopsided towards the right as opposed to split down the middle.  Sort of the opposite of us in Canada where we tilt fairly to the left although kind of like Alberta which tilts heavily to the right.  When it comes to 80-90% for right wing, it seems only in Canada and the US do you find those numbers (In Canada it is in Rural Alberta the right gets that kind of support), while when it comes to over 80% left you get that in not just Canada and the US, but also the UK (interestingly enough in the UK, the Tories didn't get over 70% in any constituency but Labour got over 80% in some). 

I do get the impression Austria has always been somewhat less cosmopolitan than others so running a campaign on less immigration would probably be more popular and less of a backlash.  Also on economics, I don't think you have as big a gap between the rich and poor as the English speaking countries thus the difficulty with social democratic parties and also why even when they win, they rarely run up the margins.
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mileslunn
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2017, 01:44:28 pm »

The new parliament will become more female and younger when it convenes on November 9 (the final composition is not known yet and won't be until December/January when the new government takes office: government members are not MPs, so VP/FP can replace them with the next on their lists).

The youngest newly-elected MP will be 22 year old Claudia Plakolm from the VP:



Others include Johanna Jachs, VP (26)Sad



Eva-Maria Holzleitner, SP (24)Sad



Marlene Svazek, FP (25)Sad



Stephanie Cox, List PILZ (28)Sad



Alma Zadic, List PILZ (33)Sad



Claudia Gamon, NEOS (28)Sad



... and a lot of young male MPs.

Good to see also a diversity in parties too.  I noticed in Britain it seems the overwhelming majority of young females are Labour MPs, only a few in the Tory ranks, and a couple in the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party.
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mileslunn
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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2017, 09:20:25 pm »

Here is what VP/FP have agreed to after the first full week of talks (using Google Translate, so it's a bit bumpy English, but I guess you get the most points):







For retirement age does this mention raising it or maintaining it?  Other question is for taxes, have they said which brackets they will cut.  Will it be all brackets or just middle and lower income.  The 55% top rate for millionaire's seems high but I am not sure you win a lot of votes over cutting that one.
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mileslunn
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2017, 02:21:10 pm »

It seems the OVP and FPO have a fair number of millennials so quite different than the English speaking world where it seems millennials overwhelmingly favour parties that lean left.  In the last UK election, almost all the millennials elected were in the Labour Party which millennials massively voted for.  Perhaps with Austria having a longer history of social democracy and less on neo-liberalism there is less of a backlash to neo-liberalism than in the English speaking world and income inequality doesn't seem nearly as big an issue.  Not sure a Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn could gain much traction in much of Continental Europe.

As for top rates, the reason I asked is soak the rich attitude seems to be growing as well in the English speaking world.  Here in Canada, it's quite popular to jack up taxes on the rich and even though our top rates aren't quite as high they are getting close and pushing them above Austrian levels would be quite popular here.  Interestingly enough Trudeau commented on Kurz and said he had more disagreements with him than Trump.  I am guessing he fails to understand that Austria unlike Canada was not built on immigration so the idea of an open diverse multicultural country is a much tougher sell in countries that don't have a history of it.
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mileslunn
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2017, 06:28:52 pm »

Justin Trudeau: "I disagree with (Kurz) even more than I think I disagree with President Trump."
https://mobile.twitter.com/CBCPolitics/status/926116702877822983

I dont really see where hes coming from. Kurzs environmental policies alone put him way above Trump for me, not to mention he wouldnt support an Auxit like Trump presumably would.

I can think of only two where he is more conservative which are immigration and taxes.  On taxes yes Trudeau thinks the rich should pay more, but he needs to remember Austria's top marginal rate is 55% which is higher than any province in Canada and for those making between 30,000 Euros to 60,000 Euros (the approximate conversion rate for those who got the tax cut here in Canada), their rates are 10-15% higher than Canada.  In Canada, taxes are 31% of GDP while Austria is 43% and Kurz wants to drop it to 40% so even under Kurz Austria will still be a higher taxed country.

That being said its probably immigration as he did take a hard line on it, but I suspect if Canada saw an influx of refugees on the same level as Austria did, you would see a similar backlash where such policy would sell well here.  In fact Liberals own internal memos have expressed concerns if the illegal border crossings into Quebec continue, it could hurt the party next election.  EU Citizens will still continue to enjoy the right to live and work in Austria as it will remain a member and for non-EU citizens it may be stricter, but unlike Canada which doesn't allow free mobility with any country, we have greater needs whereas Austria can meet its requirements largely from EU citizens.  If both had a goal of 1% of population for immigration, Austria can largely get this just from movement within the EU thus having as open an immigration system for non-EU citizens would be unsustainable whereas since Canada doesn't have free mobility with any country that is why we need more open immigration system.  If NAFTA had free mobility of labour, I suspect you would see our immigration levels cut.
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mileslunn
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2017, 03:58:02 pm »

I was wondering if consumption taxes are less controversial in mainland Europe as I know the new Dutch government is doing the same.  Certainly here in Canada and I think the US is similar, sales taxes seem to generate the most opposition when increased even more so than income taxes.  Mind you in Europe sales taxes are built into prices so people don't notice them whereas here in Canada they are added on separately so you notice it as prices posted exclude sales taxes.  As for income tax cuts, what brackets do you think they will go after as it seems 30% and 40% respectively kick in at a relatively low rate.  Also do you think the top rate will fall below 50% as right now it is 55% or would that be too big a hole in the budget and not a lot of votes to gain either.
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mileslunn
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« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2017, 03:54:26 pm »

VP and FP have agreed on a tax credit of 1500 per child annually, in addition to the tax cut for workers. This was a key campaign promise by Kurz.

On the other hand, the FP has given up their opposition on CETA (they wanted a referendum) and the full smoking ban will be pushed back in time instead - allowing the status quo to continue with restaurant owners having to set up smoking and non-smoking areas.

The coalition contract is almost finished, a presentation is expected for Saturday.

https://diepresse.com/home/innenpolitik/5336254/OeVP-und-FPOe-einigen-sich-auf-1500-Euro-Kinderbonus

How big will the tax cuts by and when do they take effect.  Also is it across the board drop in rates or is it changing some individual brackets and which ones?
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mileslunn
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2017, 12:39:48 pm »

VP and FP have agreed on a tax credit of 1500 per child annually, in addition to the tax cut for workers. This was a key campaign promise by Kurz.

On the other hand, the FP has given up their opposition on CETA (they wanted a referendum) and the full smoking ban will be pushed back in time instead - allowing the status quo to continue with restaurant owners having to set up smoking and non-smoking areas.

The coalition contract is almost finished, a presentation is expected for Saturday.

https://diepresse.com/home/innenpolitik/5336254/OeVP-und-FPOe-einigen-sich-auf-1500-Euro-Kinderbonus

How big will the tax cuts by and when do they take effect.  Also is it across the board drop in rates or is it changing some individual brackets and which ones?

Impossible to say at this point, because virtually nothing has leaked from the talks on this issue so far. We need to wait for the coalition contract during the weekend, which is when they are going to unveil the new government. But both VP and FP said that the low and middle income groups will have the most tax relief.

On the other hand, VP/FP have agreed to introduce tuition fees for all university students again (500/semester after the first 3 semesters are over, with a tax credit later on - mostly to keep German med students in Austria after they have finished their studies).

Currently, Austrian students + EU students have to pay no fees. Only foreigners from non-EU countries and those who are studying way past regular studying times.

http://derstandard.at/2000070372713/Tuerkis-Blau-will-Studiengebuehren-mit-Steuerbonus

500 Euros still sounds quite cheap compared to the English speaking world.  Still wouldn't this hurt them next time around amongst younger voters as I think unlike in the English speaking world younger voters tend to lean to the right in Austria so while I support the idea not sure how tactically smart it was whereas in English speaking countries most younger voters lean left so not going to cost them much support introducing tuition fees, example the British Tories weren't hurt by massive tuition hikes, but both Labour Party under Tony Blair was for introducing them and Liberal Democrats as junior partner to the Tories for supporting the hikes while Corbyn gained big amongst younger voters on his promise to scrap them and the same with Sanders in the US.
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mileslunn
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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2018, 02:38:34 pm »

So what type of government will likely be formed.  With exactly half the seats will SPO go it alone or ask one of the other parties to join in a coalition with them?  Is it possible the three opposition parties will get together to form a government?
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