Austria History: The First and Second Republic Part II
According to topb2bwebsites, the continuous influx of immigrants in fact represented an element of strong imbalance, which in the early 1990s was grafted onto an economic situation that was not fully positive, giving rise to a relative discontent and xenophobic pressures absent from the Austrian scene for some time. In this climate (which resulted in the clear restriction on new entries) attacks occurred which involved the mayor of Vienna himself, Helmut Zilk, a member of the movement for minority rights, seriously injured by an explosive letter (December 1993). The xenophobic thrusts, on the other hand, they found a support in the Liberal Party (FPÖ) which, by waving the flag of closure to immigrants, also obtained success in the elections of some diets (1994). A situation which is also contradictory since, in contrast to the trend, the electorate approved by a large majority the entry into the European Union. Soon, however, tensions emerged within the majority, while the conflict between the governing parties intensified, leading to the dissolution of the National Council. The early elections (December 1995) were won by the Social Democrats who significantly increased their consensus, but the popular ones also obtained a good affirmation, while the liberals marked a setback. In March 1996, popular and social democrats gave life to a new coalition government, confirming Chancellor Vranitzky as its leader, who resigned, however, in early 1997 and was replaced in February by former finance minister Victor Klima. The presidential elections of April 1998 confirmed once again the awareness by the Austrian electorate of the new responsibilities assumed after joining the EU; in fact, already in the first round, the “pro-European” Klestil was entrusted with a second mandate. Meanwhile, the march of the Liberal Party of the new secretary Jörg Haider resumed, which, after the setback of 1995, imposed itself in the elections in Carinthia and in Vorarlberg. A clear confirmation in this sense came from the general elections of October 1999 which, while assigning primacy to the Social Democratic Party (33.4%), saw the clear rise of the Liberal Party, which jumped to second place. The delicate period of political instability that followed, made even more difficult by the protests of many European Union countries worried by the possibility of a direct involvement of Haider’s Liberal Party in the new executive, ended in February 2000 with the birth of a government that, led by the popular Wolfgang Schüssel, he saw in his ranks several members of the FPÖ. Haider’s resignation from the leadership of the party in favor of S. Riess-Passer (vice-chancellor in the Schüssel government) and his retirement in Carinthia, of which he was governor, allowed Austria to normalize relations with European partners, who had Vienna under observation. But, in September 2002, following internal divisions within the FPÖ, the government entered into crisis and early elections were called, which gave favorable response to the popular votes of the outgoing Chancellor Schüssel, reducing Haider’s Liberal Party instead. The internal political situation changed again with the presidential elections of April 2004, which were won by the Social Democratic candidate Heinz Fischer. In the’ October 2006 the legislative elections were held in which, confirming the previous tendencies, the Social Democrats were affirmed, albeit with a minimum difference, winning 35.7% of the votes against 34.2% of the popular; the third party was the Greens followed by the FPÖ. The task of forming the new government was given to Alfred Gusenbauer, leader of the Social Democrats, who formed a coalition government with the popular. In April 2007, the Parliament voted, on a proposal from the government, for a law that recognized the right to vote for anyone who had reached the age of 16. The first elections extended to young people were held in September 2008. Won by the SPÖ (Social Democrats) with 29.7% of the votes, these consultations saw a clear defeat for the center parties (the popular ÖVP), including the Social Democrats, and the clear rise of the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) and the Freedom Party (FPÖ). In October, BZÖ leader and Carinthian governor Jörg Haider died in a car accident and the party appointed Stefan Petzner in his place. In November, the Social Democrat Werner Faymann became prime minister. In April 2010 the presidential elections were held, won with great popular consensus (78.94% of the votes) by the incumbent President H. Fischer.