Now here’s a clever bit of politics. For those who don’t recognise the smiling face on the picture below, it’s the Mayor of Vienna, Michael Häupl. Now this is a poster from the Vienna Social Democrats and as you can see the Mayor is sporting a tie with the red of the SPÖ but also the colour of his junior coalition partners – in the Vienna State government – the Greens.
The slogan proclaims that red and green are good for Vienna. Or more specifically a little green amongst the dominant red is an attractive combination in the city and suggests that this could be the future colours of a Federal government.
By directly promoting the coalition so positively the SPÖ appears to be seeking to strengthens their appeal to centrist and liberal voters in the city. This positive line is also spun in the press but with enough comments suggesting that the SPÖ is keeping coalition government ‘realistic’ and also focused on core Red voter issues. These Red voters are often more ‘conservative’ than Green or (more moderate) ÖVP voters and are a key battle ground in the fight between the SPÖ and their main rivals the far right FPÖ. But avoiding the loss of or securing voters from the Greens or (the conservative) ÖVP is also an important second front in the battle to maintain their dominant position in the city.
Michael Häupl has been making noises about the potential for the first ever Red/Green coalition at the Federal level after the next election. Whether others of his party share the same enthusiasm is a matter of debate but at present the opinion polls suggest that such a combination would be unable to command a majority in parliament.