Austrian legislative election, 2006
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Politics and government of
Following the Austrian legislative election, 1999, the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) had formed a coalition government with the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), and later the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ). As a result of the 2006 election, the ÖVP-BZÖ coalition lost their majority in parliament. After three months of negotiations, it was announced on January 8 that the SPÖ and ÖVP would form a grand coalition, with SPÖ leader Alfred Gusenbauer becoming the next Chancellor.
Parliamentary parties 
Austrian People's Party 
The Austrian People's Party contested the election with Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel as its leader. It was the first federal election in Austria since 1970 the party entered as strongest party. Slogans used by the party in the campaign were "Secure. Austria" (Sicher. Österreich), "Austria. Here, we are well." (Österreich. Hier geht's uns gut.) and "Austria. Stays better." (Österreich. Bleibt besser.) They also attacked the Social Democratic Party, attesting them a lack of economic competence, repeatedly bringing up the so-called "BAWAG-Affair". The ÖVP cited a rising number of academics and shorter study periods, according to them because of the introduction of tuition fees, as some of their successes. They also capitalized on their women’s policies, including being the first Austrian cabinet with half the ministers being women and appointing a woman as president of the Supreme Court for the first time.
Social Democratic Party of Austria 
The Social Democratic Party was led by Alfred Gusenbauer in the election campaign. Themes of their campaign included a rising in youth unemployment, criticism of the Schüssel government's pension reform as well as the order of Eurofighter Typhoon fighters which they wanted to cancel in the case of them entering government. They also criticized the abolishment of the Ministry for Women and promised to abolish tuition fees for universities.
After coming in first in opinion polls for a long time, from March 2006 onwards the Austrian People's Party was ahead of them. The main reason for this was believed to be the "BAWAG-Affair": the Bank for Work and Economy (Bank für Arbeit und Wirtschaft), in which the Social Democratic dominated Austrian Trade Union Federation held a majority, was hurled into turbulences, leading to disputes in the party.
Freedom Party of Austria 
Media considered the initiative "Stay free Austria" (Volksbegehren "Österreich bleib frei") as start of their campaign. Some points of their party programme they highlighted were: No accession of Turkey to the European Union and rejection of the European Constitution, no rising of Austria's contributions to the European Union, aggravation of citizenship laws, stopping immigration and fighting abuse of asylum.
The Greens - The Green Alternative 
The Greens started their pre-election campaign in May 2006 with the presentation of two "Black Books". The "Black Book black" concentrated on their criticism of the People's Party government, the "Black Book red" criticized the opposition performance of the Social Democratic Party. The Greens accused both parties of violations of human rights, with their main criticism being the 2005 reform of the asylum and foreigner's rights laws, to which the Social Democratic Party had agreed. Central to their campaign were promotion of alternative energy, improving the situation of working women, introduction of a demand orientated basic social security (Grundsicherung), an education reform and introduction of a point-system for immigration, favouring highly qualified immigrants.
They stated abolishment of tuition fees for universities and cancelling the order for Eurofighter as conditions for entering a government.
Alliance for the Future of Austria 
Peter Westenthaler was elected as party leader on a special party summit on 23 June 2006. The party contested the election as "The Freedom-minded – Westenthaler's List – BZÖ" (Die Freiheitlichen – Liste Westenthaler – BZÖ). After the Freedom Party obtained a preliminary injunction, the BZÖ had to remove the phrase "The Freedom-minded" from its billboards – it remained on ballot papers nonetheless.
The party presented an election programme with the title "10 points against a shift to the left in Austria". Policies included: lowering of number of foreigners by 30%, limits for the share of non-native German speakers in classes and termination of the European Union's accession talks with Turkey.
On 25 September, six days before the election, Minister of Justice Karin Gastinger, deputy leader of the BZÖ and the party's leading candidate in Styria announced her leaving the party. As reason for her decision she stated that she "doesn’t want to be active in a political movement that is xenophobic, that operates with fear".
Extraparliamentary parties 
Communist Party of Austria 
Leading candidate for the Communist Party of Austria was Mirko Messner. Hoping for a basic mandate in the constituency Graz, the Communist Party made heavy use of the Styrian politician Ernest Kaltenegger, who managed to secure one of the best election results in the history of the party when gaining 20% of the votes in the municipal elections in Graz. Points of their election campaign included a tax for the rich as well as higher minimal pensions and wages.
Dr. Martin's List – For Democracy, Control, Justice 
Hans-Peter Martin, MEP, announced in July 2006 that he intended to run with his own party. He concentrated on criticizing the established parties and trying to attract protest votes. Due to a limit on party’s short names on ballot papers to five letters the party ran as MATIN.
Other Parties 
Five parties managed to secure enough signatures to run in some of the regional constituencies:
- EU Withdrawal – Neutral Free Austria in Carinthia, Salzburg, Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Vienna
- Socialist Left Party, List against Capitalism and Racism in Vienna
- Certainly – Absolutely – Independent, Franz Radinger in Carinthia
- Initiative 2000 in Burgenland
- List Strong in Carinthia
Summary of results 
- The ÖVP lost many of the votes they had taken from the FPÖ in the 2002 election.
- The Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) lost fewer votes and thus regained a plurality.
- The Austrian Green Party received more than 11% of the votes and pulled ahead of the Freedom Party.
- The FPÖ increased their share of votes slightly but missed third place by about 500 votes.
- The BZÖ, which had split off from the FPÖ in 2005, crossed the threshold of 4% and will be represented in the new parliament.
- The Austrian Communist Party (KPÖ) increased its share of votes to 1%.
- The list of Hans Peter Martin received 2.8%. Both his list and the KPÖ are below the 4% threshold that is necessary for parliamentary representation.
- The Liberal Forum decided not to stand in the election, citing the tight schedule as well as the lack of finances and a suitable party leader. However, on 3 September 2006 the SPÖ announced an electoral alliance with the LIF (some of the LIF's candidates will stand on the SPÖ's party list, ensuring that at least the LIF's chairman Alexander Zach will be a member of the next parliament).
|Social Democratic Party of Austria (Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs)||1,663,986||−128,513||35.34||−1.17||68 (67)||−1|
|Austrian People's Party (Österreichische Volkspartei)||1,616,493||−460,340||34.33||−7.97||66||−13|
|The Greens – The Green Alternative (Die Grünen – Die Grüne Alternative)||520,130||+55,150||11.05||+1.58||21||+4|
|Freedom Party of Austria (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs)||519,598||+28,270||11.04||+1.03||21||+3|
|The Freedom-minded – Westenthaler's List – BZÖ (Die Freiheitlichen – Liste Westenthaler – BZÖ) [r 1]||193,539||*||4.11||*||7||+7|
|Dr. Martin's List – For Democracy, Control, Justice (Liste Dr. Martin – Für Demokratie, Kontrolle, Gerechtigkeit)||131,688||*||2.80||*||—||*|
|Communist Party of Austria (Kommunistische Partei Österreichs)||47,578||+20,010||1.01||+0.45||—||±0|
|EU Withdrawal – Neutral Free Austria (EU-Austritt – Neutrales Freies Österreich) [r 2]||10,594||*||0.23||*||—||*|
|Socialist Left Party, List against Capitalism and Racism (Sozialistische LinksPartei, Liste gegen Kapitalismus und Rassismus) [r 3]||2,257||−1,649||0.05||−0.03||—||±0|
|Certainly – Absolutely – Independent, Franz Radinger (Sicher – Absolut – Unabhängig, Franz Radinger) [r 4]||1,514||*||0.03||*||—||*|
|IVE INITIATIVE 2000 (IVE INITIATIVE 2000) [r 5]||592||*||0.01||*||—||*|
|List Strong (Liste Stark) [r 4]||312||*||0.01||*||—||*|
|Liberal Forum (Liberales Forum) [r 6]||—||—||—||—||— (1)||—|
|Total (turnout 78.48%; −5.8%)||4,793,780||100.0||183|
* Did not run in 2002
Opinion Polls 
|NEWS-Market||27 September 2006||38%||35%||10%||10%||3%||3%|
|Profil-OGM||23 September 2006||37%||35%||10%||11%||3%||3%|
|ÖSTERREICH-Gallup||22 September 2006||38%||35%||10%||10%||3%||4%|
|NEWS-Market||20 September 2006||39%||34%||9%||11%||3%||3%|
|ÖSTERREICH-Gallup||19 September 2006||38%||35%||10%||11%||3%||3%|
|Profil-OGM||16 September 2006||38%||35%||10%||10%||3%||3%|
|ÖSTERREICH-Gallup||12 September 2006||39%||35%||8%||10%||3%||4%|
|IGF||11 September 2006||39%||34%||8%||11%||3%||4%|
|ÖSTERREICH-Gallup||9 September 2006||38%||35%||7%||12%||3%||4%|
|Profil-OGM||9 September 2006||38%||35%||9%||10%||2%||5%|
|NEWS/Market||7 September 2006||38%||34%||8%||11%||3%||5%|
|Kurier/Integral||3 September 2006||37%||35%||8%||11%||4%||5%|
|ÖSTERREICH-Gallup||31 August 2006||37%||35%||7%||11%||4%||4%|
|NEWS-Market||30 August 2006||39%||35%||7%||11%||3%||4%|
|Profil-OGM||26 August 2006||39%||35%||7%||11%||3%||4%|
|NEWS/Market||23 August 2006||38%||36%||7%||10%||4%||4%|
|NEWS/Market||16 August 2006||40%||34%||7%||11%||3%||4%|
|NEWS/Market||2 August 2006||39%||35%||6%||11%||3%||5%|
|Kurier/Integral||16 July 2006||39%||35%||8%||12%||4%||—|
|Profil/OGM||15 July 2006||40%||36%||8%||12%||3%||—|
|NEWS/Market||12 July 2006||41%||36%||5%||11%||3%||3%|
- 2006 Green Party election programme (pdf), in German, retrieved 2010-05-17
- NEWS: Westenthaler elected as party leader, in German, retrieved 2010-10-17
- Vorarlberg Online: Gastinger leaves BZÖ, in German, retrieved 2010-05-17
Media related to 2006 Austrian general election at Wikimedia Commons