Back in March, I posted “Freedom Egg” in which I lamented about my village’s affection for a certain far-right, anti-immigrant political party . . . 34% of them in the last election!! “How could that be?!” I thought. Suddenly, that number 34 is looking pretty good.
We had the presidential election yesterday. Before any misunderstandings happen – the Presidency here in Austria is a ceremonial office. The person filling it represents the people but doesn’t run the government. That is the job of the Chancellor.
There were six candidates in the running – the two major ruling parties (Socialists and Conservatives), the Green Party, the Blue (“freedomish”) party, one woman – a retired judge – who just ran under her own name with no party backing her, and Austria’s Trump. Or better, what Trump should have been – an old rich guy having fun in the limelight, seemingly delighted with his role as national laughing stock slash embarrassment.
My husband had to take my daughter to a singing gig, so about 20 minutes before they had to leave, he zipped down to the village to vote – five minutes to get there, five minutes to vote, five minutes to get back, an extra five minute window in case of delays which he ended up not needing. Yep. That is how voting works here – fast and easy.
So many things the government runs in this country are equally well done. We have no power outages, everyone has health care, the trains and buses are clean and run on time, the roads are kept in good repair, housing is mostly affordable, the food is very high quality and water drinkable, the schools are generally well kept up and the teachers well-paid, the economy is humming along, the social welfare system is multi-faceted and not punitive, 20+ years of family allowances are paid out to all couples for each child, five weeks of vacation and child-care leave are guaranteed to all workers, the homelessness and crime rates are both low and the country has been neutral – i.e. has not fought in any wars – for over 60 years.
Clearly it was time to raise some fists and shake things up and throw the bums out while yelling “WE’RE MAD AS HELL AND NOT GONNA TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!”
By 5 pm the results were in. As expected, none of the six got over 50%, so there will be a runoff election between the top two next month. That means Blue (1) against Green (2). Judge Lady came in 3rd. The two major parties washed out – each strangely getting the exact same 11.18% of the votes. Austrian Trump came in last with a bit over 2%.
This morning, the numbers from every little village in the province – hundreds and hundreds of them -were published in the paper. So I could see, for instance, that 55.2% of my village’s votes were freedomish. I scanned the entire list for places with higher percentages. I only found three.
Maybe I should become an Austrian citizen and start voting here . . . get that percentage down to 55.1.