The Slovenia Times

Slovenians Achieve Historic Result in Austrian Local Elections


The EL, the only political party of the Slovenian minority in Austria, which had candidates in all 22 bilingual municipalities in the province of Carinthia, had its strongest showing in Bad Eisenkappel/Železna Kapla.

Franc-Josef Smrtnik won another term as mayor with 52.8% in the first round, while the EL got 36.6% to overtake the SocDems (SPÖ/35.9%), and double its number of councillors to eight.

Ahead of the second round on 15 March, things are also looking good for the EL in Globasnitz/Globasnica, where the party's candidate Bernard Sadovnik got 47.97%, beating incumbent (SPÖ) Wolfgang Wölbl, who got 41.12%. Peter Trampusch moreover made it to the run-off in Neuhaus/Suha.

EL president Gabriel Hribar told the STA that the party "achieved a historic success in all respects" in Sunday's election, improving on its best result so far.

In three large municipalities - St. Kanzian/Škocjan, St. Jakob im Rosental/Šentjakob v Rožu and Ferlach/Borovlje - the party also got representatives on the municipal executive, a body that adopts three quarters of the executive decisions in municipalities.

Meanwhile, TV Slovenija reported that another 50 to 60 Slovenian councillors have been elected on the ballots of Austrian parties.

The SPÖ got 40.23% of the vote in Sunday's election, a 3.58-percentage point improvement on 2009, the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) got 22.51%, up 2.1 points, the Freedom Party of Austria plummeted 12.98 points to 17.69%, while the Greens got 5.59%.

Valentin Inzko of the National Council of Carinthian Slovenians (NSKS), one of the umbrella organisations of the Slovenian minority in Austria, also spoke of a historic success in his comments, saying "we don't recall such a large number of seats in the past 50 years".

The NSKS head assessed that the autonomous approach, meaning the separate running of individual Slovenian political forces, received strong support from voters. Yet this does not mean that the integrational model does not have its advantages, especially when it comes to political activity at state level, he added.


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