It’s been a busy week of press coverage for one of Austria’s new parties, NEOS (and its electoral allies), culminating with their first mention in a national opinion poll (Karmasin published in Heute):
SPÖ – 27%; ÖVP – 24%; FPÖ – 20%; Greens – 14%; BZÖ – 2%; Team Stronach – 9%; NEOS – 2%
It may not be earth shattering but for a grouping with limited resources, which have gradually been raising their profile, it is a major jump forward. They will be hoping to build on the media coverage and their growing organisation to push these poll ratings towards the 10% they are aiming to achieve come the national elections.
Pinks is also attractive with Liberal Green
NEOS (party colour pink) has made the news this week with two major stories. First the new Liberal Centrist Party secured agreement on an electoral pact with the Liberal Forum (LIF). They already have working arrangements with the Liberal youth party (JuLis) and the new pact brings together Liberal groupings into a single electoral platform using the short name of Neos and longer ballot paper name Neos – Austria and New Liberal Forum.
Here are links to interviews from a Neos, LIF, and JuLis perspective (in German but Google translate works well enough):
The second headline grabbing story was the defection of four Greens, all described as high ranking members of Green Economy – association of Green entrepreneurs linked to the Green party.
National news interview
Also this week Matthias Strolz (NEOS) and Christopher Clay (Pirate Party) were interviewed by Armin Wolf on ZIB2. neuwal have produced a transcript of the interviews (again in German but Google translate can help).
So Liberal, Green, Conservative lite, Centrist?
A few weeks ago I was hearing/reading of NEOS described as conservative lite. This week the accusations have included a LIF front and Green by another name.
The reality would seem to be a broad liberal movement drawing support from economic and social liberals, liberal greens, and centrists of left and right shades – a new type of movement in Austrian politics.
Who will win?
Austrian politics has had a well established party pattern. With NEOS, the Pirate Party and (even) the creation of Austro-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach, Team Stronach, voters will not be short of something new and different.
The questions are who (if any) of the ‘new’ will capture the public’s imagination? Will people power and new ways of campaigning win out for NEOS, or the Pirate Party? Will Franks millions be the key factor? Or simply will it be the established parties with State Party Funding, well tested traditional campaign organisations, and established brands win out?