* Austria: Austria’s Freedom Party (FPO) has accused Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz (OVP) of stealing its platform on immigration and the economy ahead of a parliamentary election.
** There will be some tension between the two parties as they compete with each other ahead of the elections. This is normal. However, we see a golden opportunity for both parties to benefit from each other.
*** Kurz has led opinion polls ahead of the Oct. 15 election with just over 30 percent. The Freedom Party and the SPO trail with around 25 percent each.
– FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache’s comments came a day after Kurz presented plans for his conservative People’s Party (OVP) for changes in the corporate tax law and cuts to benefits for migrants.
“The program Kurz presented is almost identical to the FPO economic program. We are still waiting for the presentation of the OVP’s own economic plan,” Strache told Reuters.
– There is no doubt the Freedom Party led the fight against migration from the start. This must be acknowledged. In 2015, during the government coalition of SPO and OVP, Austria accepted Angela Merkel’s “solidarity” and was flooded with migrants from the Middle East and Africa. Today, they are paying the consequences for their thoughtless open-door policy.
Yes, the SPO may have led the charge, but the OVP was their partner and, in our opinion, did not do enough to resist. The Freedom Party has a point.
– However, the OVP, at the time, was led by a progressive that attacked the policies of Viktor Orban and often sided with the SPO and Berlin. Today, the OVP has a new leader, Sebastian Kurz, who carries a message on migration much closer to the V4’s point of view than Brussels.
– Obviously, these parties agree on many issues, although they differ in tone, intensity and style. The FPO and OVP have much in common on migration, taxes and education to form a solid coalition. Although Kurz was not the first to lay out these plans, one cannot blame a new entrant for espousing quality platforms with merit.
“Given Sebastian Kurz’s popularity, a coalition between the OVP and the FPO seems to be the most likely outcome,” said Vienna-based analyst Peter Hajek.
However, we are deeply troubled by Kurz’s statement in the article. Kurz told reporters he did not rule out working with any party and was “equidistant” from the FPO and the SPO.
Equidistant? Given Kurz’s campaign agenda, how can he make such a statement? The SPO is led by the liberal Christian Kern, who is a member of the Party of European Socialists, an extreme group that promotes open-borders, mass migration and multiculturalism. The SPO wants to levy new taxes and greatly expand the role of government. The SPO’s socialist manifesto even includes a tax on wealth and inheritance.
– Sebastian Kurz needs to realize his sudden popularity is directly tied to his opposition to migration and the old establishment. What is this talk of SPO? Austrians are quite unhappy with the direction taken by the inept coalition of SPO and OVP since 2006. Kurz is relatively young (not an issue for us) and well-liked, but he is untested. It is easy to campaign, but the message must be followed by action that matches the talk. Clearly, the SPO has a different vision for Austria. At this stage, Kurz must build his trust with Austrians. Teaming with the SPO is the surest way to lose it.
– More than likely, Kurz is trying to play it safe to prevent the media from attacking him. This never works and the media will attack him regardless. The UN has already started and the Berlin-Paris regime will soon begin to try to influence the results. First, they will attempt to portray the FPO as “extremists”, then they will pressure Kurz to embrace “responsible” EU stewardship by shunning the so-called “nationalists” of the FPO.
This is an election that Germany and the EU cannot afford to lose. They have much riding on an obedient Christian Kern and want to maintain their influence over Austria. A Kurz-FPO coalition would be a major blow for Brussels.
Many of our readers have expressed their doubts about Kurz, while others sincerely believe in his vision. We have been supporters of both Kurz and the FPO and believe they would make natural allies for the next government.
Choosing a coalition partner will be the first test for Sebastian Kurz. Only the FPO would provide him with the coalition needed to reach his goals. Choosing the SPO would be a failure for Kurz and Austria.
Our prediction: We think Kurz will chose wisely. We believe he will choose the FPO.