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Van der Bellen, Candidate of the Rich and Satisfied

Aktualisiert: 17. Nov. 2023

After Van der Bellen's re-election, the monopoly media try to present 55 percent as a great victory. But it was the rich and the satisfied who decided this election for the incumbent president. If the media are not already enough "opinion makers," they also put up two "independent" candidates. The major parties, on the other hand, put up none for the first time in their history. An enormously declining voter turnout shows how little the "protest candidates" were able to fulfill their purpose. The election for federal president, its candidates and results document the deepening crisis of the old political system, especially of bourgeois parliamentarism.

While large parts of the population are facing inflation that threatens their very existence, while rearmament and economic warfare are being pushed forward with the EU sanctions, an election circus worth millions of euros is going on like no other. Of seven candidates in this election, six positioned themselves as so-called protest candidates who are in some way opposed to the establishment. All of them, except for the incumbent president himself. Almost all candidates never tired of emphasizing that they were "independent". Within the population, discontent and distrust in the system parties are on the rise. The long list of "independents" was supposed to rectify this and give seeming "alternatives".

MFG: only result 2.5 percent higher voter turnout

The MFG with its candidate Brunner showed most clearly what the purpose of so-called "protest parties", or "protest candidates" is. With their defeat of 2.5 percent, it is nothing but fraud to speak of "changing the system" or "reclaiming democratic rights" here, especially since their beginnings are in the movement against the Covid measures. Was mandatory vaccination rolled back because of opposition from one parliamentary group? No! It was the hundreds of thousands who took to the streets and applied pressure. With the MFG, there is only one more party haggling for a seat in parliament and the Hofburg. Its only result in the election was a 2.5 percentage increase in voter turnout. Within the movement, however, it fueled illusions that an election would bring an improvement for the population. The MFG was disenchanted - instead of the announced "rebel," it turned out to be conservative and loyal to the system.

Monopoly media put up their own candidates.

The two candidates Wallentin and Grosz appeared as no less "independent". They have behind them no one less than the monopoly press itself: Krone and Puls24. The fact that even the media send "their" candidates into the race shows once again their complete fusion with the state apparatus.

The fact that it was important for the candidates across the board to position themselves as "independent", is another expression of the political and moral crisis of this system at the same time. There is hardly any trust left in the "old" forces; there is great distrust both in the established parties and in "new" and "unused" candidates. Because they, too, preach that all you have to do is make a "right" cross. Even the sleight of hand of the "independent" candidates did not bring about a higher voter turnout; on the contrary, it fell by nine percentage points compared with the last federal presidential election. The "independents", "rebels" or "protest candidates" obviously did not manage to play their role well, the stands remained half empty and this circus continues to lose its magic.

Rich and satisfied saved the election.

You are rich and satisfied? Then Van der Bellen is the right man, as the election analyses showed. If only those who are considered wealthy had voted, Van der Bellen would have won with 70 percent. If only those who say they are satisfied were counted, Van der Bellen would have won with 83 percent. But not only did this social group make the race for Van der Bellen, they were also the ones who ran most to the election. Van der Bellen, originally a Green Party candidate, won his votes from ÖVP and SPÖ voters, third only to Green voters. Only 74 percent (compared to the National Council elections) of Green voters voted for Van der Bellen. It can be seen that the discarding of the anti-democratic Covid measures reaches far into the Green electorate.

Bankruptcy of the major parties

This election marked the first time that the system-supporting major parties ÖVP and SPÖ did not put forward a candidate of their own. Under the pretext that these times of crisis need stability, they are trying to conceal the political crisis in which they find themselves. But the last election for federal president already showed their bankruptcy. The candidates of the ÖVP and SPÖ, Kohl and Hundsdorfer, only managed to get around 10 percent each. This shows not only the great distrust of the population toward the old system parties, but also the deepening of the political crisis of this old system, especially of bourgeois parliamentarism.

Antidemocratic measures still warmed up on election night.

The political crisis of the ruling ones was also reflected by the first political discussion after the election. The established parties and monopoly media immediately raised the possibility of restricting the candidacy. Van der Bellen's comment on this was by no means dismissive: "this has to be considered". This is by no means a question of preventing any embarrassments or "operational accidents" around the election, it is simply a way of dismantling bourgeois parliamentarism and democratism. In addition to this advance, the Green Party's member Sigi Maurer in particular stood out, who demanded the reintroduction of the mask requirement in a Puls 24 interview on the eve of the election. While democracy was "highly praised" on the eve of the election, anti-democratic measures were demanded immediately on the evening after the election.

Turning away from parliamentarism

Voter turnout fell once again, despite the many alternatives, which were apparently intended to cover a whole range of interests according to the motto "there's something for everyone." Despite this " broad spectrum," the non-voters had the strongest growth. To present Van der Bellen's result as a "success" is a sham, even in view of the declining voter turnout.

The initiative Action for Democratic Rights of the People (we reported about it in our newspaper), distributed a leaflet for boycotting the election, where among other things it is made clear that not voting alone is not enough: "We want to express our rejection of the elections: with boycott, by not participating in this theater. We do not cast our vote, because we know: No solution to the fundamental problems will be found by the way of the elections." Experience also shows that it is not through an election, but through the resistance and struggle of the oppressed that victories are won.

We face a situation in which the ruling elites are slipping deeper and deeper into political crisis and are becoming less and less able to maintain their hegemony. At the same time, the economic crisis is also clearly coming to a head, which is essentially being passed on to the broad population. Broad sections of the population no longer have any illusions about the circus of elections, no longer go for elections, or ask themselves from the very beginning who will bring less harm. This deep rejection was also expressed in the numerous acts of destruction and graffiti that appeared in many places in Austria. "Fascist" could be read, among other things, on Van der Bellen as well as on Rosenkranz. Van der Bellen's posters were also smeared with "neutrality," "NATO friend" or "warmonger." It also became apparent, in comparison to the last few years, that the anger at this circus of an election did not abate at all.

In this situation, where the crisis of the old system is increasingly manifesting itself, the crucial question is to strengthen the unity of the people. Important struggles are ahead: for wage settlements above the inflation rate, against factory closures and mass layoffs, against warmongering, EU rearmament and NATO support. These struggles cannot be fought through parliament, but require the firm unification and organizing of the workers and other oppressed sections of the population.


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