18 June 2024

Austrian Green Minister’s Defiance Sparks Snap Election Speculation

Why any 'conservative' party like the ÖVP would enter a coalition with the Watermelons (Green on the outside, deep, dark Red on the inside) is completely beyond me.

From The European Conservative

By Thomas O'Reilly

Chancellor Nehammer is trying to hold his government together due to fears of a populist surge in early elections.

The political fallout continues after Austrian green minister Leonore Gewessler’s shock decision to defy her government’s line and vote in favour of the EU’s Nature Restoration Law at a meeting of European green ministers in Luxembourg this week. Speculation is now growing that her insubordination could trigger snap elections in Vienna.

Charges were filed with Austria’s constitutional court against Gewessler late Monday afternoon after the green minister defied her centre-right coalition partners and Austrian Prime Minister Karl Nehammer by refusing to abstain from the crunch vote. The vote aimed to designate 20% of EU member states’ landmass as preserved restoration sites and introduce new green regulations on land use.

Gewessler’s vote on behalf of the Austrian government, along with a volte-face by Slovakia, was enough to carry the vote under qualified majority voting rules.

The centre-right ÖVP, which has governed Austria in coalition with the Greens since 2019, has categorically ruled out a potential snap election in the face of the betrayal by their coalition partners. While admitting that the “emotion would be there” to end Vienna’s green-centre-right coalition, Chancellor Nehammer said it was his “responsibility, as federal chancellor, to ensure an orderly path” to parliamentary elections later this year.

Legislative elections for the Austrian lower house are planned for September. The national populist FPÖ maintains a commanding lead over the government parties according to opinion polls, something which is likely scaring Nehammer into delaying elections as long as possible.

FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl referred to the debacle as a “tragedy” and said the coalition parties had made Austria “the laughingstock of Europe.”

Campaigning on a platform against mass immigration, the FPÖ finished first in this month’s European elections despite incessant legal and political attacks on the party.

Pictured: Watermelon Party Minister of Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, Leonore Gewessler

Comment from the Old Curmudgeon: Any Government that contains a 'Minister of Climate Action' has no claim to being a conservative government!

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