In Austria, Sunday could see a right-wing populist elected to the position of president. The FPÖ'S Norbert Hofer, whose xenophobic slogans have struck a chord with voters, aims to tap into the constitution's potential for authoritarian power.
Norbert Hofer could take the reins of government by emergency decree if he wins Sunday's elections. The current state of play augurs well for him.
In the first round of voting, the traditionally popular Social Democrats, the SPÖ, and the Conservatives, the ÖVP, got a taste of the electorate's wrath. Chancellor Werner Faymann of the SPÖ resigned.
It seems the Alpine republic is lurching to the right as its voters follow a pattern that has emerged throughout Europe. Is there no end to the trend towards right-wing populism?
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Ewald König is a freelance correspondent and an Austrian himself, who has been covering Austrian politics for decades now. He says: “It's not only the refugees, there are many other reasons for Austria's and Europe's drift to the right.”
Alan Posener is a commentator for the Berlin daily Die Welt, who says: “Nobody cares who governs a small country like Austria. But Germany has a responsibility for the whole of Europe. We can't afford Viennese coffeehouse politics.”
Ulrike Guérot of the European Democracy Lab believes that “A wildfire is sweeping across Europe. It’s taken in Hungary, and now Austria, with France looking likely to be next.”