Alliance for the Future of Austria

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Alliance for the Future of Austria
Leader Gerald Grosz
Founder Jörg Haider
Founded 3 April 2005
Split from Freedom Party of Austria
Headquarters Volksgartenstraße 3/5
A-1010 Vienna
Youth wing Generation of the Future of Austria
Membership 8,000 (2011)[1]
Ideology Economic liberalism[2]
Social conservatism[3]
Right-wing populism[4]
Euroscepticism
Political position Right-wing[5][6][7]
International affiliation None
European affiliation None
European Parliament group Non-Inscrits
Colours Orange
National Council
0 / 183
Federal Council
0 / 62
European Parliament
0 / 18
State parliaments
2 / 448
Website

www.bzoe.at

Politics of Austria
Political parties
Elections

The Alliance for the Future of Austria (German: Bündnis Zukunft Österreich), abbreviated to BZÖ, is a political party in Austria.

The BZÖ was founded on 3 April 2005 by Jörg Haider as a moderate splinter from the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) and immediately took the FPÖ's place in coalition with the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP). The party won seven seats at the 2006 election, ending its involvement in government. The September 2008 election saw the BZÖ breakthrough with 21 seats, while the FPÖ's vote also increased. 13 days after the election, Haider died in a car crash; in April 2009, Josef Bucher became leader. Under Bucher's leadership, the party moved towards economic liberalism, leading to the secession of the party's Carinthia branch to form the Freedom Party in Carinthia in December 2009.

Under Bucher, the party became economically liberal and socially conservative.[3] The party aims to take ground from the ÖVP by defending the middle class and free markets: supporting a flat tax (currently a model with 44% which exists as calculator tool on the party's website), privatisation of utilities, and large reductions in both bureaucracy and the government debt. The party takes a more moderate position than the FPÖ on immigration – proposing the introduction of a 'Green card' – and is in some ways 'eurosceptic'. Unlike the FPÖ, the BZÖ is notably for the reintroduction of tuition fees, abandoning conscription and the adoption of a system of Common Security and Defence Policy in the European Union.

History[edit]

Foundation[edit]

Jörg Haider founded the BZÖ in 2005, after failing to reform the FPÖ into a more moderate party.

The BZÖ was founded as the result of considerable disagreements within the Freedom Party between Jörg Haider, the Freedom Party's chair person Ursula Haubner and Vice Chancellor Hubert Gorbach on the one side and the circle around Heinz-Christian Strache, Andreas Mölzer, and Ewald Stadler on the other. The former group broke off and founded the new party in order to distance themselves from the right.

The party's charter was deposited at the Federal Ministry for the Interior on 3 April 2005, as is required by Austrian law, and the founding of the party was announced by former members of the Freedom Party the following day. On 6 April 2005, the party's charter was published in the official gazette of the Wiener Zeitung, and the initial conference took place on 17 April in Salzburg where the party's programme was agreed upon.

The BZÖ became the first party of the Second Republic to immediately join a government without taking part in an election. In the coalition with the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), the BZÖ held the vice-chancellorship and two ministries.

The first test for the BZÖ came in a series of Landtag elections in October 2005. In the elections to the Styrian state parliament on 2 October 2005, the BZÖ only obtained a 1.7% share of votes and clearly failed to enter the Landtag, while the FPÖ, with 4.6%, failed by a much smaller margin. The BZÖ's leading candidate was Michael Schmid, a former Austrian minister of infrastructure.

The BZÖ did not stand in the October 2005 elections in Burgenland. In the October 23 elections in Vienna, it was led by former Lower Austrian state government member Hans Jörg Schimanek. However, it received only 1.2% of votes, while the FPÖ, led by national party chairman Heinz-Christian Strache, surprised pollsters with a share of 14.9%.

Consolidation[edit]

Since the BZÖ performed poorly in the state elections it participated in shortly after its formation, many commentators believed that it would disappear after the 2006 general election. However, the party obtained 4.1% of the vote and 7 seats in the National Council in 2006. The party was led by Peter Westenthaler from June 2006 until August 2008.

Haider formally re-assumed the party chairmanship on 30 August 2008, and was the party's candidate for Chancellor of Austria in snap general elections that took place on 28 September 2008. In those elections, the BZÖ scored a major victory taking 522,933 votes nationally translating into 10.70% of the total national vote. The party increased its representation from 7 to 21 seats in the National Council. However, 13 days after the election, Haider died in a car crash.

After Haider[edit]

After Haider's death, the party was led by a temporary leadership team consisting of Stefan Petzner (Haider's former spokesman) and later on Herbert Scheibner (former Defence minister).

On March 2009 elections were held in Salzburg (the party achieved 3.7% there, failed to enter Landtag but entered some Carinthian state and municipal elections where the party reached 44.9% and kept the Landeshauptmann.

On 26 April 2009, a party congress in Linz elected Josef Bucher as the new leader.[8]

In their first European Parliament election, in June 2009, the BZÖ received 4.58% of the votes. This was sufficient for Ewald Stadler to take his place as an Observer MEP and later on, in 2011, as a MEP.

In autumn 2009, the party reached only 1.2% in the elections in Vorarlberg and 2.83% at the Upper Austrian state elections held on 27 September and failed to enter the Landtag.[9]

Liberal turn[edit]

Following Bucher's efforts to change the ideological direction of the BZÖ, many of the Carinthian party members broke away and on 16 December 2009 reorganised as the Freedom Party in Carinthia (distinct from the federal FPÖ). The Carinthian BZÖ was re-established on 30 January 2010.[3][10][11]

On 2 May 2010 the Alliance for the Future of Austria held a convention in Vienna, where their first Bündnisprogramm was designed and agreed upon by open ballot in unanimity.

At the May 2010 election in Styria, the BZÖ achieved 2.98% with Gerald Grosz as leading candidate for the Landtag. At the October 2010 Vienna state elections, the Alliance for the Future of Austria had nominated Walter Sonnleitner as leading candidate to check the new right-wing liberal course in action and reached 1,33 % of the Viennese voters. After that, Grosz claimed that the 2.98% achieved in Styria were a triumph in comparison to the 1.33% in Vienna and that he was concerned about the next general election.

Bucher and Grosz later confirmed that they had agreed to einen "bürgerlichen Kurs rechts der Mitte" (a "middle class course right of the centre") and that both fully supported this course.[12]

To show its freshness the Alliance changed its branding which became an orange rectangle with the name written in white inside at a meeting on 30 January 2011 in Carinthia to celebrate the first anniversary the refounding of the host party, BZÖ Kärnten (the Carinthian BZÖ).

In September 2011, the party launched a campaign against EU fiscal union, quoting the Bible – "They know not what they do" (Luke 23:34) – to criticise the SPÖ, ÖVP and EU 'bosses'.[13] The party abolished the position of secretary-general on 13 September. One day later, this caused Member of Parliament Robert Lugar to leave the Alliance's caucus.[14]

Furthermore the so-called "Bucher-Plan" was introduced which contains an immediate payment stop for bankrupt EU countries an exclusion of Greece from the EU and a whole new safe and independent Monetary Zone of strong countries consisting of Austria, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.[15]

After the general elections of 29 September 2013 with Josef Bucher as the party's candidate for Chancellor of Austria the support for the BZÖ dropped to 164,599 votes. As a consequence, on 2 October 2013 Josef Bucher stepped down as party leader.[16] In turn, Gerald Grosz was appointed new head of the party.[17]

Following the new leadership, two former party members Stefan Petzner and Ewald Stadler were expelled from the BZÖ by Gerald Grosz.[18][19]

On 15 March 2014 during an extraordinary party convent, DDr. Ulrike Haider-Quercia was presented as leading candidate for the upcoming European elections and she was accepted unanimously. On 27 March, it was announced that MEP Werthmann would be the independent candidate for DDr. Haider-Quercia’s list for the BZÖ for the European elections. Consequently, Werthmann was excluded from the ALDE group, since the ALDE group leader Guy Verhofstadt did not want the BZÖ to be in the European Parliament as part of the ALDE group.[20][21] In turn, DDr. Haider-Quercia stepped back from her candidacy and in consequence MEP Werthmann became top candidate for the independent "List Mag. Werthmann"[22] However, the BZÖ was not re-elected into parliament during European elections held on the 25 May 2014.[23]

Policies[edit]

Ideology[edit]

On 15 October 2009, the party described its political position as centre-right, expressing their more moderate stance compared with the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ). Under Joseph Bucher, the party has been economically liberal and socially conservative.[3]

The BZÖ describes itself as "ideologiefrei, aber zukunftsorientiert und wertebewusst" (free from ideology, but forward-looking and conscious of traditional values). From its beginning, the party's leader and programme changed very often, until Josef Bucher became the party leader. This brought the first installation of the "Bündnisprogramm" in Vienna which was accepted in open ballot vote by 600 attending members, and a political orientation described now as "rechtsliberal" (right-wing liberal).

The BZÖ wants to especially focus on the Mittelstand, civil and political rights, the stop of compulsory membership in the state and personal freedom. The BZÖ is especially outspoken against new taxes and calls for more reforms.[24]

The BZÖ also opposes, among others, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement[25] as well as the TTIP.[26]

Economics[edit]

The BZÖ supports reducing the reduction of government debt, which stood at 80% of gross domestic product in 2011.[27] The party supports the privatisation of utilities and parts of the Austrian Federal Railways.[28] The party advocates 'radical clearing' of bureaucracy and Bucher had proposed a 44% flat tax on earnings above €14,235.28 with a further allowance of €9,000 for each child.[29]

Social issues[edit]

The party supports the introduction of the Green card model as it is in practice in the United States. This policy was introduced by Bucher in 2009 in recognition of Austria's reliance on immigration and separates the BZÖ from the FPÖ.[30]

Foreign policy[edit]

Unlike the ÖVP and FPÖ the BZÖ supports in 2010 the abolishment of conscription and the creation of a Volunteer military consisting of so-called "Berufssoldaten" and a strong Militia component, according to vice-chairman Herbert Scheibner, former Defence minister.[31] The BZÖ demands an increase of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and admitted to the adaption of a system of Common Security and Defence Policy in the European Union.[32]

The BZÖ demanded a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and, like the FPÖ, it advocates withdrawal from the Eurozone and the introduction of a hard north Euro and a soft south Euro.[3] It opposes Turkish accession to the EU.[33]

Constitution[edit]

There are also major differences of opinion between FPÖ and BZÖ about the future of the Federal Council, the upper house of the Austrian Parliament. While the FPÖ would like to enhance it to a real "Länderkammer", the BZÖ calls for political reforms to abolish the Council and to replace its competences with the Landeshauptleutekonferenz. The idea behind this is "to end the blocking politics by the provinces" and furthermore he states' "governors and a small number of councillors should represent their home regions interests after such a reform".[34]

Political support[edit]

The party has polled around 5–6% since early 2011,[35][36][37] having won 10% at the 2008 election. The party is particularly strong in Carinthia, where the party won 45% at the 2009 election and still polls over 10%, even after the secession of the Freedom Party in Carinthia.

The party has stated that it aims to stand up for the middle class as the 'stronghold of the taxpayer'

State branches[edit]

Each state has a BZÖ branch that exists and acts semi-independently of the federal party. The state branches of the Freedom Party reacted in different ways to the creation of the BZÖ. The Freedom Party in Carinthia, which enjoyed a great deal of autonomy under that party's statutes, was the only state branch which became a part of the BZÖ en masse.[citation needed]

The Freedom Party in Upper Austria originally planned to decouple itself from the federal party and go its own way without joining the BZÖ for the time being. In April 2006, the convention of the Freedom Party of Upper Austria decided to rejoin the federal FPÖ. Former party expulsions have been revoked.

The state parties split in Vienna, the Tyrol, and Styria. The leaders in these three states decided to remain a part of the FPÖ, although some members of these state groups showed sympathy towards the BZÖ.

Sections[edit]

The BZÖ has a youth wing, called the Generation of the Future of Austria (Generation Zukunft Österreich), a pensioner's wing, called the Independent Seniors Platform (Unabhängige Seniorenplattform), a families wing, called the Family for the Future of Austria (Familie Zukunft Österreich),[38] a farmers wing called "BZÖ Bauern" a labours wing called "BZÖ Arbeitnehmer" (at the moment in Carinthia only with Sigisbert Dolinschek as chairman)[39] as well as a business wing called "BZÖ Unternehmer".

Finances[edit]

The party is debt-free since 2012.[40] The BZÖ currently receives Party funding in Austria of €4.1 million per annum.

Membership[edit]

At the initial party conference on 17 April 2005, Jörg Haider was elected leader of the Alliance. Hubert Gorbach, the Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Minister for Infrastructure was the parliamentary leader, with Heike Trammer and Karin Gastinger as his deputies.[citation needed] Uwe Scheuch, a member of the National Council and former General Secretary of the Freedom Party, is the Alliance's spokesman. On 24 September 2006 Karin Gastinger left the BZÖ, staying Minister of Justice.[citation needed]

Other prominent members are:

  • Ursula Haubner (Jörg Haider's sister): Social Security Minister and former Freedom Party leader
  • Herbert Scheibner: former Defence Minister, former leader of the Freedom Party group in the National Council

Jörg Haider remained leader or "Bündnisobmann" of the BZÖ until his death in October 2008.

Election results[edit]

General elections[edit]

National Council of Austria
Election Votes  % of vote Seats
2006 193,539 4.1% 7
2008 522,933 10.7% 21
2013 165,746 3.53% 0

European Parliament elections[edit]

European Parliament
Election Votes  % of vote Seats
2009 131,261 4.6% 1[a]
2014 13,208 0.47% 0
  1. ^ BZÖ's sole member of European Parliament Ewald Stadler has since been removed from the party in October 2013[41]

Leadership[edit]

Party chairmen[edit]

List of chairmen in the States of Austria[edit]

See also[edit]

Portal icon Conservatism portal

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "Bucher: Wir brauchen einen schlanken Staat". Kleine Zeitung (in German). 12 August 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "BZÖ wird bürgerlich wirtschaftsliberal". journal.at. 2 May 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "BZÖ wird "rechtsliberal"". Die Presse (in German). 15 October 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Boettcher, Alexander (11 August 2011), How Strong Is Right-wing Populism in Europe?, Social Europe Journal 
  5. ^ "No BZÖ-FPÖ cooperation in Vienna, says Sonnleitner". Austrian Times. 5 October 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Van Gilder Cooke, Sonia (29 July 2011), Austria — Europe's Right Wing: A Nation-by-Nation Guide to Political Parties and Extremist Groups, Time, retrieved 16 February 2012 
  7. ^ Meyer-Feist, Andreas (14 February 2012), Austrian villagers quash plans for Buddhist temple, DW, retrieved 16 February 2012 
  8. ^ http://www.ots.at/presseaussendung/OTS_20090416_OTS0284/josef-bucher-als-bzoe-buendnisobmann-designiert
  9. ^ "Auch mit Haubner scheitert BZÖ". Wiener Zeitung (in German). 27 September 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  10. ^ "BZÖ Website:"Bucher for establishing of Green Card"". 
  11. ^ Hochwarter, Thomas (18 January 2010). "BZÖ to stay in Carinthia despite FPK 'revolt'". Austrian Times. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  12. ^ "BZÖ: Bucher und Grosz demonstrieren große Einigkeit". DiePresse.com. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  13. ^ "BZÖ nimmt Bibelzitate als Wahlslogans". Kurier (in German). 9 September 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  14. ^ derStandard.at. "BZÖ-Klub verliert wieder einen Mandatar". derStandard.at. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  15. ^ BZÖ Website "Retten wir unser Geld! Mit dem Bucher-Plan". Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  16. ^ "BZÖ-Bucher: "Ich werde aus der Politik ausscheiden" | Parlamentsklub des BZÖ, 02.10.2013" (in German). ots.at. 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  17. ^ "BZÖ-Grosz: BZÖ soll offenes Wahlbündnis für bürgerliche Wähler sein | Parlamentsklub des BZÖ, 04.10.2013" (in German). ots.at. 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  18. ^ http://diepresse.com/home/politik/nrwahl2013/1460576/Grosz-wird-BZOChef-Stadler-und-Petzner-mussen-gehen
  19. ^ http://derstandard.at/1379293160862/EU-Abgeordneter-Ewald-Stadler-verlaesst-Politik
  20. ^ derStandard.at (2014-04-08). "Liberale Fraktion schließt BZÖ-Kandidatin Werthmann aus - Österreich und EU - derStandard.at › Inland". Derstandard.at. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  21. ^ "Timeline concerning the candidacy of MEP Mag. Angelika Werthmann on the list of DDr. Ulrike Haider-Quercia - MEP Angelika Werthmann". Angelika-werthmann.at. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  22. ^ "Nach Werthmann-Alde-Ausschluss: Ulrike Haider legt Kandidatur für EU-Wahl zurück | Bündnis Zukunft Österreich - BZÖ, 08.04.2014" (in German). ots.at. 2014-04-08. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  23. ^ "Danke An Alle". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  24. ^ "BZÖ is Middle class liberal economic". Tripple.net. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  25. ^ "BZÖ-Bucher/Stadler: BZÖ-Nein zu ACTA in EU und Österreich | Parlamentsklub des BZÖ, 03.02.2012" (in German). ots.at. 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  26. ^ "Werthmann/Grosz zu TTIP: Forderung nach sofortigem Verhandlungsstopp! | Bündnis Zukunft Österreich - BZÖ, 09.05.2014" (in German). ots.at. 2014-05-09. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  27. ^ "BZÖ drängt auf Schuldenreduzierung Österreichs". Kleine Zeitung (in German). 9 March 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  28. ^ "Fekter: "ÖBB kann man locker privatisieren"". Die Presse (in German). 5 June 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  29. ^ "BZÖ: "Zuwanderung in den Sozialstaat" abstellen". Die Presse (in German). 9 December 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  30. ^ "BZÖ-interner Streit über Zuwanderung". Die Presse (in German). 24 October 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  31. ^ "Wehrpflicht: BZÖ-Antrag für Volksbefragung gescheitert". ORF (in German). 9 December 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  32. ^ "Programm des Bündnis Zukunft Österreich". BZÖ Party Programm, page 38 (in German). 2 May 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  33. ^ "Faymann und Merkel gegen den Nord-Euro". Die Presse (in German). 6 September 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  34. ^ "Pirates 'are anarchists'". Austrian Independent. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  35. ^ "ÖVP fällt in Umfragen Richtung 20 Prozent". Kleine Zeitung (in German). 16 April 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  36. ^ "FPÖ erobert den ersten Platz, ÖVP ist Dritte". Kurier (in German). 20 May 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  37. ^ "BZÖ kündigt Dauerwahlkampf an". Kleine Zeitung (in German). 17 December 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  38. ^ "BZÖ gibt sich Familienbund". Wiener Zeitung (in German). 28 September 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 
  39. ^ "BZÖ gibt sich Familienbund". Woche.at (in German). 23 July 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  40. ^ "Das umstrittene FPÖ-Erbe des BZÖ". Wirtschaftsblatt (in German). 7 October 2021. Retrieved 11 July 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  41. ^ "Gerald Grosz ist der neue Bundesobmann des BZÖ". Die Presse (in German). 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 

External links[edit]