2006 Austrian legislative election

← 2002 1 October 2006 2008 →

All 183 seats in the National Council
92 seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Turnout4,793,780 (78.5%)[1]
Decrease 5.8%
  First party Second party Third party
 
Alfred Gusenbauer 26.10.2008 (cropped).jpg
W Schuessel7.jpg
Alexander Van der Bellen1.jpg
Leader Alfred Gusenbauer Wolfgang Schüssel Alexander Van der Bellen
Party SPÖ ÖVP Greens
Leader since 29 April 2000 22 April 1995 13 December 1997
Leader's seat 3C Mostviertel 9E Vienna South-West 9F Vienna North-West
Last election 69 seats, 36.5% 79 seats, 42.3% 17 seats, 9.5%
Seats won 68 66 21
Seat change Decrease 1 Decrease 13 Increase 4
Popular vote 1,663,986 1,616,493 520,130
Percentage 35.3% 34.3% 11.1%
Swing Decrease 1.2% Decrease 8.0% Increase 1.6%

  Fourth party Fifth party
 
HEINZ CHRISTIAN STRACHE.jpg
Westi001 (cropped).jpg
Leader Heinz-Christian Strache Peter Westenthaler
Party FPÖ BZÖ
Leader since 23 April 2005 June 2006
Leader's seat 9D Vienna South 9D Vienna South
Last election 18 seats, 10.0% Did not exist
Seats won 21 7
Seat change Increase 3 Increase 7
Popular vote 519,598 193,539
Percentage 11.0% 4.1%
Swing Increase 1.0% Increase 4.1%

2006 Austrian legislative election - Results.svg
Results of the election, showing seats won by state and nationwide. States are shaded according to the first-place party.

Chancellor before election

Wolfgang Schüssel
ÖVP

Elected Chancellor

Alfred Gusenbauer
SPÖ

Legislative elections were held in Austria on 1 October 2006 to elect the 23rd National Council, the lower house of Austria's bicameral parliament.

The governing Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) suffered substantial losses and was unexpectedly overtaken by the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ). The Greens became the third largest party for the first time, while the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) fell to fourth for the first time. The Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ), competing in its first national election, narrowly passed the 4% electoral threshold, despite opinion polling which indicated it would fall short.

After the 2002 election, the ÖVP formed government with the FPÖ; in 2005, the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) split from the FPÖ. Most of the FPÖ's National Council deputies joined the new party, which replaced the FPÖ as the junior partner in government. As a result of the 2006 election, the ÖVP–BZÖ coalition lost its majority. After three months of negotiations, the SPÖ and ÖVP formed a grand coalition under SPÖ leader Alfred Gusenbauer, which took office on 11 January 2007.

Contesting parties

The table below lists parties represented in the 22nd National Council.

Name Ideology Leader 2002 result
Votes (%) Seats
ÖVP Austrian People's Party
Österreichische Volkspartei
Christian democracy
W Schuessel7.jpg

Wolfgang Schüssel
42.3%
79 / 183
SPÖ Social Democratic Party of Austria
Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs
Social democracy
Alfred Gusenbauer 26.10.2008 (cropped).jpg

Alfred Gusenbauer
36.5%
69 / 183
FPÖ Freedom Party of Austria
Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs
Right-wing populism
Euroscepticism
HEINZ CHRISTIAN STRACHE.jpg

Heinz-Christian Strache
10.0%
18 / 183
GRÜNE The Greens – The Green Alternative
Die Grünen – Die Grüne Alternative
Green politics
Alexander Van der Bellen1.jpg

Alexander Van der Bellen
9.5%
17 / 183

Qualified parties

In addition to the parties already represented in the National Council, eight parties collected enough signatures to be placed on the ballot. Three of these were cleared to be on the ballot in all states, five of them only in some.

On the ballot in all 9 states

On the ballot in some states only

Campaign

Austrian People's Party

The Austrian People's Party contested the election with Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel as its leader. It was the first federal election in Austria since 1970 the party entered as strongest party. Slogans used by the party in the campaign were "Secure. Austria" (Sicher. Österreich), "Austria. Here, we are well." (Österreich. Hier geht's uns gut.) and "Austria. Stays better." (Österreich. Bleibt besser.) They also attacked the Social Democratic Party, attesting them a lack of economic competence, repeatedly bringing up the so-called "BAWAG-Affair". The ÖVP cited a rising number of academics and shorter study periods, according to them because of the introduction of tuition fees, as some of their successes. They also capitalized on their women’s policies, including being the first Austrian cabinet with half the ministers being women and appointing a woman as president of the Supreme Court for the first time.

Social Democratic Party of Austria

The Social Democratic Party was led by Alfred Gusenbauer in the election campaign. Themes of their campaign included a rising in youth unemployment, criticism of the Schüssel government's pension reform as well as the order of Eurofighter Typhoon fighters which they wanted to cancel in the case of them entering government. They also criticized the abolishment of the Ministry for Women and promised to abolish tuition fees for universities.

After coming in first in opinion polls for a long time, from March 2006 onwards the Austrian People's Party was ahead of them. The main reason for this was believed to be the "BAWAG-Affair": the Bank for Work and Economy (Bank für Arbeit und Wirtschaft), in which the Social Democratic dominated Austrian Trade Union Federation held a majority, was hurled into turbulences, leading to disputes in the party.

On 3 September 2006 the Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Forum formed an electoral alliance with the goal to prevent a further ÖVP-led government.

Freedom Party of Austria

The Freedom Party of Austria campaigned with party leader Heinz-Christian Strache as their leading candidate.

Media considered the initiative "Stay free Austria" (Volksbegehren "Österreich bleib frei") as start of their campaign. Some points of their party programme they highlighted were: No accession of Turkey to the European Union and rejection of the European Constitution, no rising of Austria's contributions to the European Union, aggravation of citizenship laws, stopping immigration and fighting abuse of asylum.

The Greens - The Green Alternative

Leading candidate for the Green Party was party leader Alexander Van der Bellen.

The Greens started their pre-election campaign in May 2006 with the presentation of two "Black Books". The "Black Book black" concentrated on their criticism of the People's Party government, the "Black Book red" criticized the opposition performance of the Social Democratic Party. The Greens accused both parties of violations of human rights, with their main criticism being the 2005 reform of the asylum and foreigner's rights laws, to which the Social Democratic Party had agreed. Central to their campaign were promotion of alternative energy, improving the situation of working women, introduction of a demand orientated basic social security (Grundsicherung), an education reform and introduction of a point-system for immigration, favouring highly qualified immigrants.[2]

They stated abolishment of tuition fees for universities and cancelling the order for Eurofighter as conditions for entering a government.

Alliance for the Future of Austria

The BZÖ entered the campaign with Peter Westenthaler, former floor leader of the Freedom Party, as its leading candidate.

Peter Westenthaler was elected as party leader on a special party summit on 23 June 2006.[3] The party contested the election as "The Freedom-minded – Westenthaler's List – BZÖ" (Die Freiheitlichen – Liste Westenthaler – BZÖ). After the Freedom Party obtained a preliminary injunction, the BZÖ had to remove the phrase "The Freedom-minded" from its billboards – it remained on ballot papers nonetheless.

The party presented an election programme with the title "10 points against a shift to the left in Austria". Policies included: lowering of number of foreigners by 30%, limits for the share of non-native German speakers in classes and termination of the European Union's accession talks with Turkey.

On 25 September, six days before the election, Minister of Justice Karin Gastinger, deputy leader of the BZÖ and the party's leading candidate in Styria announced her leaving the party. As reason for her decision she stated that she "doesn’t want to be active in a political movement that is xenophobic, that operates with fear".[4]

Minor parties

Communist Party of Austria

Leading candidate for the Communist Party of Austria was Mirko Messner. Hoping for a basic mandate in the constituency Graz, the Communist Party made heavy use of the Styrian politician Ernest Kaltenegger, who managed to secure one of the best election results in the history of the party when gaining 20% of the votes in the municipal elections in Graz. Points of their election campaign included a tax for the rich as well as higher minimal pensions and wages.

Dr. Martin's List

Hans-Peter Martin, MEP, announced in July 2006 that he intended to run with his own party. He concentrated on criticizing the established parties and trying to attract protest votes. Due to a limit on party’s short names on ballot papers to five letters the party ran as MATIN.

Opinion polling

Polling firm Fieldwork date ÖVP SPÖ FPÖ Grüne BZÖ MATIN Lead
2006 legislative election 1 Oct 2006 34.3 35.3 11.0 11.1 4.1 2.8 1.0
NEWS-Market 27 Sep 2006 38 35 10 11 3 3 3
Profil-OGM 23 Sep 2006 37 35 10 11 3 3 2
ÖSTERREICH-Gallup[dead link] 22 Sep 2006 38 35 10 10 3 4 3
NEWS-Market 20 Sep 2006 39 34 9 11 3 3 5
ÖSTERREICH-Gallup 19 Sep 2006 38 35 10 11 3 3 3
Profil-OGM 16 Sep 2006 38 35 10 10 3 3 3
ÖSTERREICH-Gallup[dead link] 12 Sep 2006 39 35 8 10 3 4 4
IGF 11 Sep 2006 39 34 8 11 3 4 5
ÖSTERREICH-Gallup[dead link] 9 Sep 2006 38 35 7 12 3 4 3
Profil-OGM 9 Sep 2006 38 35 9 10 2 5 3
NEWS/Market 7 Sep 2006 38 34 8 11 3 5 4
Kurier/Integral 3 Sep 2006 37 35 8 11 4 5 2
ÖSTERREICH-Gallup[dead link] 31 Aug 2006 37 35 7 11 4 4 2
NEWS-Market 30 Aug 2006 39 35 7 11 3 4 4
Profil-OGM 26 Aug 2006 39 35 7 11 3 4 4
NEWS/Market 23 Aug 2006 38 36 7 10 4 4 2
NEWS/Market 16 Aug 2006 40 34 7 11 3 4 6
NEWS/Market 2 Aug 2006 39 35 6 11 3 5 4
Kurier/Integral 16 Jul 2006 39 35 8 12 4 4
Profil/OGM 15 Jul 2006 40 36 8 12 3 4
NEWS/Market 12 Jul 2006 41 36 5 11 3 3 5
2002 legislative election 24 Nov 2002 42.3 36.5 10.0 9.5 5.8

Results

2006 Austrian legislative election - composition chart.svg
Party Votes % +/– Seats +/–
Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) 1,663,986 35.34 −1.17 68 −1
Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) 1,616,493 34.33 −7.97 66 −13
The Greens – The Green Alternative (GRÜNE) 520,130 11.05 +1.58 21 +4
Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) 519,598 11.04 +1.03 21 +3
Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) 193,539 4.11 New 7 New
Hans-Peter Martin's List (MATIN) 131,688 2.80 New 0 New
Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ) 47,578 1.01 +0.45 0 ±0
EU Withdrawal – Neutral Free Austria (NFÖ) 10,594 0.23 New 0 New
Socialist Left Party (SLP) 2,257 0.05 −0.02 0 ±0
Certainly – Absolutely – Independent, Franz Radinger (SAU) 1,514 0.03 New 0 New
Initiative 2000 (IVE) 592 0.01 New 0 New
List Strong (STARK) 312 0.01 New 0 New
Invalid/blank votes 85,499
Total 4,793,780 100 183 0
Registered voters/turnout 6,107,892 78.49 –5.78
Source: BMI
Popular vote
SPÖ
35.34%
ÖVP
34.33%
GRÜNE
11.05%
FPÖ
11.04%
BZÖ
4.11%
MATIN
2.80%
KPÖ
1.01%
Other
0.30%
National Council seats
SPÖ
37.16%
ÖVP
36.07%
GRÜNE
11.48%
FPÖ
11.48%
BZÖ
3.83%

Results by state

State SPÖ ÖVP Grüne FPÖ BZÖ MATIN Others Turnout
 Burgenland 45.0 36.1 5.8 8.6 1.7 2.0 0.8 86.9
 Carinthia 35.4 21.2 7.5 7.3 24.9 1.9 1.8 77.3
 Lower Austria 36.2 39.2 9.0 9.6 2.3 3.0 0.7 85.2
 Upper Austria 36.1 35.2 10.2 12.2 2.6 2.8 0.9 81.4
 Salzburg 28.5 39.2 12.5 12.2 3.1 3.2 1.3 76.9
 Styria 37.2 37.5 7.9 10.4 3.2 1.9 1.9 78.6
 Tyrol 23.2 43.8 13.0 10.8 3.3 4.1 1.8 72.8
 Vorarlberg 18.5 42.0 16.5 10.9 3.2 7.7 1.2 70.0
 Vienna 41.0 21.8 17.4 13.9 1.8 2.2 1.9 72.4
 Austria 35.3 34.3 11.1 11.0 4.1 2.8 1.3 78.5
Source: Austrian Interior Ministry

Summary

References

  1. ^ "Nationalratswahl 2006 - Endgültiges Gesamtergebnis". Website of the Austrian Ministry of the Interior (in German). Bundesministerium für Inneres. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  2. ^ 2006 Green Party election programme (pdf) Archived May 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, in German, retrieved 2010-05-17
  3. ^ NEWS: Westenthaler elected as party leader, in German, retrieved 2010-10-17
  4. ^ Vorarlberg Online: Gastinger leaves BZÖ, in German, retrieved 2010-05-17

Media related to 2006 Austrian general election at Wikimedia Commons