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FPÖ on the Horizon: Anticipating Far-Right Victory in Austrian Elections

The Fate and Future of European Politics Hangs in the Balance

By: Lee Morrow

The Freedom Party of Austria (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ) is a far-right populist and nationalist political party in Austria which is gaining significant traction.

The FPÖ’s politics include anti-immigration rhetoric, the capitalisation on nationalist sentiments, and Euroscepticism. Recent opinion polls show an increase in party popularity, demonstrating a steady lead amongst other electoral parties. Figures suggest a potential win of 27%.

The likelihood is that the party will obtain electoral victory in the next Austrian election, but what are the possible consequences of this in Austria and the wider-European picture?

The implications for Austria

An FPÖ victory would come with significant implications for domestic policies. There would be a shift towards a right-wing and nationalist attitude towards policy which would include stricter immigration controls, tighter laws, and an emphasis on national sovereignty. Additionally, it is likely that social welfare policies may also be re-evaluated which could lead to a reform that aligns closely with the FPÖ’s ideology.

The concept of identity will most definitely be challenged under the new government. The party, which is known for its nationalist rhetoric and anti-immigration stance, could further social divisions within Austrian society which could hold severe consequences. Particular groups may be at higher risk of attack or being scapegoated which will exacerbate tensions and challenges in promoting multiculturalism.

Other implications for the country include economic policy, security and defence, education and culture, and environmental policies.

By: Leonhard_Niederwimmer from Pixabay

The implications for Europe

It goes without saying that the wider European picture would also face implications and consequences of an FPÖ victory in Austria.

There would be a profound impact upon EU integration and Austria’s role within the European Union would become more complicated with the FPÖ in power. The party has been vocally critical of further EU integration and has advocated for policies that prioritise national sovereignty which could lead to further political tensions within the European Union, particularly so if Austria were to take a more Eurosceptic stance.

Migration and refugee policies, economic policies and trade relations, and European identity would all come under further threat with added influence of the far-right.

However, one major consequence above all, would be the additional signal of far-right success in European politics. This would add to a trend which is being observed in other countries such as Italy, Hungary, and Poland. This could be perceived as emboldening more far-right ideologically centred parties across the continent. This is a potential threat should it lead to greater influence for nationalist and anti-establishment movements within the EU.

Overall, an FPÖ victory in Austria could have far-reaching consequences for Europe and manifest a broader trend of nationalist and populist movements reshaping European politics.

What next?

A likely FPÖ victory in Austria’s upcoming elections would symbolise a significant backtracking for the country since its beginning to confront its National Socialist past in the late 1980s. It affects not only Austrian politics, but a broader European landscape for years to come. Even with an unprecedented shift in result, the sentiment of the party is already widespread.

The fate and future of Europe remains in question.


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