Austria. According to
Countryaah, Franz Vranitzky resigned as Chancellor on
January 19 after more than ten years in the post. The Social
Democrat chancellor had for some time experienced declining
figures of opinion and strife in the coalition. He had
partially tired of politics and said he wanted to surrender
to younger forces, but without leaving the political arena
completely. Among other things, he could imagine the post of
European Commissioner, as well as becoming Austria's next
The outgoing chancellor's proposal for successor was
approved by the party leadership: the finance minister,
49-year-old Viktor Klima. This in turn appointed Rudolf
Edlinger, the Finance Minister of Vienna, as the new
Minister of Finance. Vranitsky also left the post of leader
of the Social Democratic Sozialdemokratische Partei
Österreichs (SPÖ). On April 9, Klima was also elected as his
successor on this post.
In early July, Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schüssel
succeeded in warding off a declaration of confidence in
Parliament. Three of the parliamentary parties had requested
the declaration of confidence because of information in the
press that Schüssel would have used derogatory epithets on
other countries' politicians. However, Schüssel denied the
accusations and was supported by the two government parties
SPÖ and Österreichische Volkspartei (ÖVP).
When Vranitsky announced that he did not intend to run in
the upcoming presidential election in April 1998, the SPÖ
decided in November not to nominate any own candidate but to
support Conservative President Thomas Klestil. SPÖ thus
wanted to prevent the extreme right-wing man Jörg Haider and
his anti-immigrant hostile Die Freiheitlischen from gaining
influence over the country's politics.
Jörg Haider tried to mobilize voters against the
government's decision that Austria should join the monetary
union EMU right from the start in 1999, thereby abandoning
its own currency, schilling, in favor of the EU currency
euro. In early December, however, it was clear that Haider's
name collection was signed by only about 4% of voters.
Haider was not in principle opposed to EMU but wanted to
wait and see how stable the single currency really becomes.
In July 2007, for the first time in the country's
history, a bill was introduced to introduce a minimum wage.
The level was proposed at € 1,167, to be paid 14 times a
year. If the proposal is adopted, Austria becomes the 20th
country within the EU with minimum wage legislation.
The ÖVP withdrew from the coalition government with SPÖ
in July 2008, and this triggered new elections in September.
This election was a drastic move to the right. Social
democracy declined 6% and was 29% still the country's
largest party, but weakened. ÖVP declined 8.35% to 26%. In
contrast, the country's two fascist parties, the Freedom
Party and Jörg Haider's Future Alliance. The Freedom Party
rose 6.5% to 17.54%. Haider went up 6.6% to 10.7%. However,
Haider did not enjoy the victory for a long time when he
died in a road accident two weeks later. The extreme right
wing thus had its best choice since the victory of Nazism in
The threat from the radical right led ÖVP and SPÖ to form
a coalition government two months after the election under
Social Democrat Werner Faymann's leadership.
Austria was only slightly affected by the global economic
crisis, which seriously hit in 2008. The country's GDP fell
3.5% in 2009, but unemployment rose only slightly from 4.6%
in March 2009 to 4.9% Meanwhile, youth unemployment reached
10.1% - well below the EU average.
The crisis led to an increase in the number of thefts,
and after ethnic profiling of Vienna's inhabitants, the
police launched a series of razis targeting the capital's
Moldovan and Georgian inhabitants. At the same time, a
stream of reports of police mistreatment of residents of
second origin came. Reports that were rarely investigated by
police or the judiciary. In August, police killed a
14-year-old and seriously injured a 17-year-old after a
theft in Krems. The investigation of the process was carried
out by the police themselves, went longitudinally but
revealed major differences in the explanations of the
various police officers.
In April 2010, President Fischer was re-elected as
President with 79.3% of the vote.
In October 2010, the right-wing Liberal Party gained 26%
of the vote in the municipal elections in Vienna, becoming
the city's second largest party - after the Social
In November 2010, the government indicated that it would
withdraw its contribution to the EU aid package to Greece as
the package would not solve the fundamental problems.
In May 2012, the Department of the Interior issued an
official apology to Gambian national Bakary J., who had been
tortured in 2006 by 4 police officers after they tried in
vain to deport him. The ban on residence permits was lifted
and negotiations for compensation were initiated for him.
In 2012, after a 6-year trial, the Department of the
Interior allowed police to use electroshock guns. The
ministry characterized them as basically "non-lethal",
although there were reports from many countries of human
rights violations committed with these guns, and they had
several hundred lives on the conscience. The guideline for
their use therefore ensures that they must only be used if
the police otherwise have to resort to using real guns.