For a new party to make the breakthrough and win seats in the Austrian parliament at the first attempt and even go on to join a three party coalition would be a political earthquake. That this could be the story of #NEOS on the 29th September is stirring up the election debate in the final days of the campaign.
So is this realistic and is it a significant moment…
Matthias Strolz of NEOS thinks it is, describing the potential achievement as the ‘Event of the Century’, he may not be far wrong given the challenges of breaking into the system and the fact that the Republic has been governed for the majority of its post war history by the Social Democrat/Conservative Grand Coalition (SPÖ/ ÖVP). Pollsters say it’s not going to be easy but the chance is there.
I’ve stuck my neck out and am predicting NEOS to secure between 4% and 6% of the vote (4% is required to win seats in parliament).
When opponents switch from dismissing you to taking the time to attack or use you to attack another opponent, you’re making an impact:
- Reds cheer NEOS…..
In parts of the SPÖ, it is hoped that the Neos “many voices” get-because that would certainly weaken the ÖVP and the Green.
In Teilen der SPÖ hofft man, dass die Neos “viele Stimmen” erhalten -denn das würde freilich ÖVP und Grüne schwächen.
…..but I also know a number of ex- SPÖ supporters who will be voting Pink. The Liberal Centre is broad.
- Erwin Pröll leads the worried ÖVP attack…..
..a foretaste of what was to come in the Republic, when red-green, probably in combination with the Neos, the shots would. This is the reason why it is worth to fight against red-green Neos.
… ein Vorgeschmack darauf, was in der Republik kommen würde, wenn Rot-Grün, wahrscheinlich in Kombination mit den Neos, das Sagen hätte.
….but it sounds like another reason for more Liberal Greens to switch to NEOS. Green and evidence based policy.
- A desperate BZÖ…..
Bucher for cooperation between liberal forces after the elections – For Strolz an “electoral sham”
Bucher für Kooperation der liberalen Kräfte nach der Wahl – Für Strolz eine “wahltaktische Mogelpackung”
…but one paper described Bucher’s duel with far-Right FPÖ leader Strache as a ‘Love Show’. Bucher said he could contemplate a coalition with the FPÖ, something NEOS has ruled out.
In the same debate Strache used Bucher’s desperation against him by repeating the name NEOS. Clearly viewing the flirtation with the Centrist Liberal party as a weakness of his fellow right-winger Bucher – as all Liberals know ‘when you are attacked from the Right and from the Left you must be doing something right’.
(Note: Bucher was viewed as ‘winning the debate’).
So what do the voters think?
The new Party’s recognition level amongst voters still lags behind the established Parties. However, this is rapidly changing as NEOS have managed to remain an election ‘story’ even without the advantages of State party funding and involvement in the main TV debates.
Polling figures show 19% of the electorate expects NEOS to be one of the election ‘winners’. The polls always seem to lag behind the level of discussion on the street about NEOS. There appears to be a NEOS wave of support growing (certainly in the States of Vienna and Lower Austria – I have no strong networks of non-political contacts in other States). On the 29th September we will discover whether the wave is yet strong enough to cause a pink revolution.
(Note: Pink is the NEOS party colour).