JETZT – Pilz List

JETZT – Liste Pilz
AbbreviationJETZT
ChairmanRudolf Mang
FounderPeter Pilz
Founded26 July 2017
Split fromThe Greens – The Green Alternative
HeadquartersRahlgasse 3/3, 1060 Vienna
IdeologyLeft-wing populism[1][2]
Green politics[3]
Political positionCentre-left[4][5] to left-wing[6]
Colours  Transparent (official)[7]
  Grey (customary)
National Council
0 / 183
Federal Council
0 / 61
Governorships
0 / 9
State cabinets
0 / 9
State diets
0 / 440
European Parliament
0 / 18
Website
partei.jetzt

JETZT – Pilz List (German: JETZT – Liste Pilz, "jetzt" meaning "now"), formerly known as Peter Pilz List (Liste Peter Pilz), is a green[3] and left-wing populist[8] political party in Austria. It was founded by Peter Pilz, a former member of The Greens – The Green Alternative, who left the party in July 2017 and formed the Peter Pilz List to run in the October legislative election. The party won 4.4% of votes cast and 8 seats.[9] In the 2019 legislative election, the party won 1.9% of votes and lost its representation in the National Council.

History

A long-time member of the The Greens – The Green Alternative, Peter Pilz was among the first delegation of Greens deputies elected to the National Council in 1986, and served as the party's spokesman between 1992 and 1994. At the federal convention of The Greens in June 2017, he sought election for fourth place on the federal party list for the upcoming election. However, he lost to Julian Schmid. He was then offered sixth place on the list, but rejected it and instead announced his retirement from the National Council. Over the following weeks, speculation grew about the prospect of Pilz forming his own party. When questioned on the subject, he neither confirmed or denied rumours.[8] Opinion polls conducted throughout July indicated such a party could garner support from around 4–6% of voters.

On 25 July 2017, Pilz announced his resignation from the Greens and his intention to run his own list for the election, named the "Peter Pilz List". An application for registration as a political party was submitted on 26 July and approved on 31 July. Pilz claimed that he did not intend to found a new political party; no party programme would be formulated, and there would be no party line. He said that registration as a party was necessary to gather the grassroots support he desired, which he did not consider possible with a purely electoral list. He intended each candidate on the list to specialise in and represent a specific policy area, stating he sought to "people the programme".[7][2]

For his list, Pilz initially presented teacher, musician, and activist Maria Stern, lawyer and consumer advocate Peter Kolba, former SPÖ politician and animal rights activist Sebastian Bohrn Mena, entrepreneur Stephanie Cox, and lawyer Alfred J. Noll.[7] On 28 July, three National Council deputies defected from their parties and joined the Pilz list: Wolfgang Zinggl and Bruno Rossmann from The Greens and Daniela Holzinger-Vogtenhuber from the SPÖ. Their support allowed the party to bypass the threshold of 2,600 signatures normally required for ballot access in all nine states.[10] In August, four more candidates were presented: Renée Schroeder and Hannes Werthner (for science policy),[11] nursing assistant Teresa Roscher (for nursing), and lawyer Alma Zadić (for integration).[12]

2017 legislative election

The Pilz List carried out an unconventional campaign, eschewing posters which traditionally play a prominent part in Austrian campaigns. The party published only one poster, a blank page with text reading: "1 poster - our only one! / 0 EUR tax money / 0 pestering / Yes, it works!" and a link to the party's website.[13] The party campaigned heavily on social media, as well as through various media appearances. They promoted their candidates via public functions and so-called "Pilz talks" concerning various policy areas. The events were conducted in a participatory fashion, with anyone interested given the opportunity to engage in the discussion.[14] Pilz called for public funding of political parties to be halved, and financed his campaign via donations.[15] He stated the party's goal for the election was to win a double-digit percentage of votes.[13]

The Pilz List's support in public opinion polling was around 5–6% going into the campaign, and declined slightly to 4–5% by election day. The party ultimately won 223,543 votes (4.41% of those cast), and secured 8 seats in the National Council. The Pilz List outperformed Pilz's former party, with the Greens falling short of the 4% electoral threshold, losing all their seats. Analysis by the SORA Institute showed that, compared to the 2013 election results, the Pilz List took 67,000 votes (30% of its total) from the Greens, 32,000 from the SPÖ, 31,000 from NEOS and non-voters, 12,000 from the FPÖ, 10,000 from the ÖVP, 8,000 from Team Stronach, 6,000 from the BZÖ, and 20,000 from other parties.[16] The seats were filled by Peter Pilz, Bruno Rossmann, Wolfgang Zinggl, Daniela Holzinger-Vogtenhuber, Alfred J. Noll, Stephanie Cox, Alma Zadić, and Peter Kolba.[17]

Post-election

In early November 2017, Die Presse published statements from an anonymous employee of the Greens parliamentary group accusing Peter Pilz of repeated sexual harassment and sexual assault, ranging from verbal harassment to groping.[18] Subsequently, Falter published further allegations that an employee of the European People's Party was groped by Pilz at the 2013 European Forum Alpbach.[19] Pilz denied all accusations, but announced on 4 November he would no longer accept his seat in the National Council.[20] On 8 November, he was replaced by Martha Bißmann. Peter Kolba subsequently became parliamentary leader of the party.

On 18 December 2017, Kolba announced that the Pilz List would not run in the upcoming state elections in Carinthia, Lower Austria, Salzburg, and Tyrol. He stated the party wanted time to build as a movement, and that they planned to compete in the next European Parliament elections.[21]

On 14 January 2018, Kolba announced that Peter Pilz would return to the National Council. The timeframe for the move and who would resign to allow his re-entry was not clarified. This was strongly criticised by other parties, with the women's spokeswomen of both the SPÖ and NEOS stating the allegations against him were "not even partially cleared up".[22]

On 22 May 2018, the Innsbruck public prosecutor's office suspended its investigation of Peter Pilz for sexual harassment due to the alleged victims' inability to press charges.[23]

On 15 April 2018, Kolba announced his pending resignation as parliamentary leader, which was later delayed due to lack of agreement on a new leader. On 30 May, Bruno Rossmann was chosen to succeed Kolba. On 31 May, Kolba announced his immediate resignation from the National Council, claiming he "wanted nothing more to do with this list anymore." He did not explain his motivations, and party members claimed they were unaware that he intended to resign.[24] He was to be succeeded by Maria Stern. However, Stern agreed to decline her mandate and allow Peter Pilz to re-enter the National Council via the federal list in exchange for being guaranteed election as the party's federal leader.[25] Pilz thus returned to the National Council on 8 June. During his swearing-in on 11 June, all female deputies left the chamber with the exception of those from the Pilz group, Second President of the National Council Doris Bures, and NEOS deputy Karin Doppelbauer.[26]

The party's relations with Martha Bißmann, who had taken up Pilz's original seat in November 2017, had become increasingly strained; by June 2018, the party was on the verge of expelling her. However, after discussions, on 12 June they granted her a "last chance". She resigned from the party, but remained in the Pilz List parliamentary group.[27] On 10 July, Sebastian Bohrn Mena was expelled from the parliamentary group without notice after speaking critically of Peter Pilz in an interview.[28] On 19 July, Bißmann was also expelled from the parliamentary group.[29]

At a party meeting on 20 August 2018, Maria Stern was elected as party leader. Peter Pilz became deputy leader.[30]

On 19 November 2018, the party announced it was changing its name to "NOW – Pilz List" (German: JETZT – Liste Pilz). The parliamentary group took the name "JETZT" the next day, while the party formally changed its name on 3 December. The party also adopted a formal party programme, which identified four key priorities: Europe, ecology, justice, and oversight.[31]

In the 2019 European Parliament election on 26 May, JETZT ran a joint list named "EUROPA NOW! – Initiative Johannes Voggenhuber", featuring former Greens MEP Johannes Voggenhuber as the top candidate. The list won 1.04% of votes cast and failed to win any seats.[32]

2019 legislative election

After a snap legislative election was called in June 2019, Alfred J. Noll, Bruno Rossmann, Wolfgang Zinggl and Stephanie Cox announced they would not seek re-election. Alma Zadić announced she would instead run for the Greens; she was elected to the fifth spot on the Greens' federal list.[33] On 9 July, she was expelled from the JETZT parliamentary group.

In the lead-up to the election, the party averaged around 2% in public opinion polling, well below the threshold to re-enter the National Council. In the election, JETZT garnered 89,169 votes (1.87%), less than half the number they had won in 2017. They lost all their seats. Peter Pilz's former party, the Greens, re-entered parliament with their best ever result, winning 13.9% of votes cast and 26 seats.[34]

After the election, Stern and Pilz resigned. Carinthian ex-police officer Rudolf Mang was elected as the party's new leader.[35]

Finances

During the 2017 election campaign, the Peter Pilz List hosted a live list of all donations it received on its website. For donations over €1,000, the donor was required to give their name for the public record.[36] The party received 1,359 donations totalling €289,644 in the year of its foundation, with almost a third of that coming from a single donation of €98,365 from party candidate Alfred J. Noll. The second largest donation came from candidate Renée Schroeder with €20,000.[12][37]

In the last quarter of 2017, the Pilz list received €812,121 in public funding due to its three National Council deputies.[38] From 2018, it received €4.8 million in party and public funding.[39] After JETZT failed to win seats in the 2019 legislative election, the party foundation "Education Association - Open Society" retained €1.4 million in public funding which it was not required to repay.[40]

Ideology and policy

After the launch of the party, Die Presse described it as an answer to the Greens' failure to "take the left-wing populist course Pilz recommended," and "at the same time a political experiment. ... Socio-politically the movement is clearly left ... On the other hand, when it comes to the topic of "Migration and Asylum", the initiative should be classified on the right." They emphasised Pilz's outspoken opposition to "Political Islam", which he described as a greater threat to Austria than right-wing populism.[2]

The Pilz List has been compared to German party The Left, which is often classified as left-wing populist. Political scientist Reinhard Heinisch stated that the Pilz list could occupy space in the "left-wing populist area" which has opened up due to the "rightward drift" of other parties on the left. He stated the party could target "older, male, left-wing segments of the electorate with a critical emphasis on social issues and immigration and Islam, who may currently feel less wooed by the Greens."[7][1]

By design, the party does not have a binding platform or party line; during the 2017 election campaign, the party's website stated, "Our candidates are our programmes."[41] During the 2017 election campaign, Kurier listed the "most important points" of the Pilz platform as:[41]

Election results

National Council of Austria
Election year # of total votes % of overall vote # of seats Government
2017 223,543 (5th) 4.41
8 / 183
Opposition
2019 89,169 (6th) 1.87
0 / 183
Extra-parliamentary

Symbols

At the unveiling of the party, Pilz stated its official colour is "transparent", but that white would suffice for representation in opinion polls.[7] However, the party has primarily been portrayed using grey, and often uses the colour in promotional material.

References

  1. ^ a b Karl Oberascher (27 June 2017). "What chances would a "Peter Pilz List" have?". Kurier. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b c ""Pilz list": field trial with lone fighters". Die Presse. 25 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "Austria". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 2019-10-01. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
  4. ^ "Candidates, citizens head to polls in Austria's early legislative elections". EFE. 15 October 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Austria- a return of the People's Party (ÖVP) - Liberal Party (FPÖ) coalition?". The Robert Schuman Foundation. 18 September 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Austria". Center for Strategic and International Studies. 15 October 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Colourful quintet thrown together". ORF. 27 July 2017.
  8. ^ a b "The Pilz Party: Left list with criticism of Islamism". Die Presse. 29 June 2017.
  9. ^ Petra Ahrens; Katja Chmilewski; Sabine Lang; Birgit Sauer (2020). Gender Equality in Politics: Implementing Party Quotas in Germany and Austria. Springer Nature. p. 32. ISBN 978-3-030-34895-3.
  10. ^ "Zinggl, Rossmann and Holzinger switch to the Pilz list". Der Standard. 28 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Peter Pilz brings prominent scientific candidates". Kurier. 4 August 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Major donation from lawyer Noll for Pilz List". Kurier. 18 August 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Pilz List presents its only election poster". Die Presse. 4 September 2017.
  14. ^ "Events". Peter Pilz List. Archived from the original on 3 October 2017.
  15. ^ ""142 Millionen Euro für Parteien? Hälfte reicht"". Kronen Zeitung. 1 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Migration". Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  17. ^ "Three ex-Greens with List Pilz in parliament". Die Presse. 16 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Allegation of sexual harassment against Peter Pilz". Die Presse. 21 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Peter Pilz steps down". Falter. 4 November 2017.
  20. ^ "Austrian politician resigns amid sexual harassment claims". Associated Press. 4 November 2017.
  21. ^ "Liste Pilz will not run in the next four state elections". Der Standard. 18 December 2017.
  22. ^ "Party name is to be changed". ORF. 14 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Question about returning to parliament". ORF. 22 May 2018.
  24. ^ "Announcement via Twitter". ORF. 31 May 2018.
  25. ^ ""Unpleasant decisions"". ORF. 7 June 2018.
  26. ^ "Pilz is praised as a member of parliament on Monday". ORF. 8 June 2018.
  27. ^ "Mushroom list: Martha Bißmann leaves party". Die Presse. 13 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Bohrn Mena wants to complain: List Pilz delivers the next mud fight". Die Presse. 10 July 2018.
  29. ^ "List Pilz excludes Bißmann from the club". ORF. 19 July 2018.
  30. ^ "Pilz list: Maria Stern elected new party leader". ORF. 20 August 2018.
  31. ^ "Pilz List is now called "NOW"". Der Standard. 19 November 2018.
  32. ^ "Europawahl 2019". Austrian Interior Ministry.
  33. ^ "JETZT deputy Zadic is running for the Greens". ORF. 2 July 2019.
  34. ^ "Nationalratswahl 2019". Austrian Interior Ministry.
  35. ^ "Former Pilz Party JETZT has a new chairman". Vienna.at. 19 December 2019.
  36. ^ "Transparency". Peter Pilz List. Archived from the original on 5 February 2018.
  37. ^ "Pilz wants inheritance tax and 35-hour work week". Der Standard. 1 August 2017.
  38. ^ "Grants paid to parliamentary clubs in 2017". FragDenStaat.de. 5 February 2018.
  39. ^ "The parties promotion cornucopia". Wiener Zeitung. 17 October 2017.
  40. ^ "The Tax Millions of the List Jetzt". Wiener Zeitung. 8 October 2019.
  41. ^ a b "The most important points in the election program of the Pilz List". Kurier. 4 September 2017.