The Social Democrats are set to expand their power in the city of Vienna, while the far-right suffered a major defeat, according to initial projections following Sunday’s municipal elections.
Under Mayor Michael Ludwig, the centre-left party was expected to win 41.7 per cent of the vote in the latest forecasts, a gain of 2 percentage points, despite the city’s slow response to a rise in coronavirus infections in recent weeks.
Far-right leader Heinz-Christian Strache looked unlikely to make a comeback after corruption allegations, as his new Team HC Strache party was not expected to pass the 5-per-cent threshold needed to enter the city parliament.
The anti-immigration Freedom Party (FPOe), which Strache led until his downfall last year, was set to plummet to 7.5 per cent, down from nearly 31 per cent in 2015.
The Freedom Party and Strache’s new movement are still tainted by the so-called Ibiza video. In the footage that was secretly recorded on the Spanish island, Strache discussed possible media and public infrastructure deals with a woman posing as a wealthy Russian donor.
After the video became public in May 2019, the Austrian government coalition between Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s conservative People’s Party (OeVP) and the FPOe collapsed.
According to projections, the OeVP doubled its share of the vote to 18.7 per cent on Sunday, coming second behind the Social Democrats, while the Green party won 14.6 per cent of the vote and the liberal Neos took 8.1 per cent.