Breakthrough for Austria’s Freedom Party as Social Democrats Join in Coalition

James Kirkpatrick
June 6, 2015


Anti-immigration, populist parties in Europe often fall victim to what John Derbyshire has called the “Establishment Pincer,” or what others have termed the “cordon sanitaire.” All of the other parties in the political system take a pledge not to work with parties that bring up forbidden issues like immigration, in the hope that they will simply wither away. The Flemish nationalist party Vlaams Belang has been on the receiving end of these tactics for years. And the Sweden Democrats have been hit by the most extreme version of this, with all the other parties in the System (including the supposed conservatives) essentially launching a coup to prevent the party from having any representation in the government despite growing electoral success.

However, the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), which has been growing significantly in recent years, has achieved a breakthrough in local elections. And even the local Socialist party has been forced to join the FPO in a governing coalition.

The Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) have announced that a coalition government in Burgenland has now been finalised.

It is the first red blue government in the province.

Burgenland governor Hans Niessl of the SPÖ said days of intense negotiation showed there were no obstacles to the two parties joining forces, with FPÖ Burgenland leader Johann Tschürtz adding that there were no differences between the parties.

[Burgenland gets SPÖ and FPÖ coalition, The Local, June 5, 2015]

Needless to say, protests are in order for anyone who dares treat the Freedom Party as anything other than an enemy to be destroyed.

A press conference held by Niessl and Tschürtz on Friday was disrupted by an activist from left-wing group Offensive gegen Rechts who stormed in, shouting that the coalition would not be left in peace and that protests would take place against “the right-wing rabble rousing that has taken over Burgenland”.

Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann has categorically ruled out an SPÖ/FPÖ coalition at national level.

It’s funny how left-wing self-styled antifascist groups who claim to be defending democracy always seem to be the most upset when democratic elections don’t go their way. The only other thing that gets them so riled up are people meeting peacefully in hotels and conference centers.


Austria has seen a rise in support for the FPÖ following local elections in Burgenland and also in the central state of Styria.

Campaigning with anti-immigration slogans such as “Foreign in your own country,” the FPO’s following almost tripled in Styria.