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Vienna, March 6, (dpa/GNA) – In Austria’s regional parliamentary elections on Sunday in the province of Carinthia, the Social Democrats (SPÖ) remained the strongest party, but saw its hold shrink.
The vote in Austria’s southernmost province, was seen as a litmus test of the nation’s broader political mood.
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The SPÖ, which has provided the province’s premier since 2013, received 39% of the vote, amounting to a loss of around nine percentage points, according to projections by public broadcaster ORF.
Its current coalition partner, the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) of Chancellor Karl Nehammer, gained about two percentage points adding up to 17%. Polls had predicted significant losses for the ÖVP.
A coalition of right-wing and conservative parties is now possible in the province.
The right-wing FPÖ gained votes on Sunday, reaching 24.7%, according to projections. Team Kärnten, a populist alternative to the FPÖ, almost doubled its share of the vote and reached 10%.
The Greens and the liberal Neos reportedly failed again to clear the 5% hurdle be in the regional parliament.
“This result hurts a lot,” said Carinthia’s SPÖ premier Peter Kaiser.
The 64-year-old said he wants to talk about a coalition with all other parties represented in the regional parliament. So far, the SPÖ has governed together with the ÖVP. The ÖVP’s top candidate, Martin Gruber, left open the question of whether another alliance might be attractive in the future.
The SPÖ’s performance in Carinthia is likely to rekindle the debate within the party about national SPÖ chairwoman Pamela Rendi-Wagner.
In the state elections in Lower Austria in January, the SPÖ suffered a historic defeat. Despite proposals such as a rent brake, the largest opposition party in the federal government, is currently unable to benefit from issues such as inflation and the need for affordable housing.
Austria’s third and last local parliamentary election this year will take place on April 23 in the province of Salzburg, where the ÖVP fears it may lose its clear majority.
Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).
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