Austria’s Social Democratic SPÖ party elected migration hardliner Hans Peter Dosksozil to lead the party at a special party convention in Linz on Saturday, kickstarting an internal process to decide the party’s direction ahead of the 2024 legislative elections.
On Saturday, some 600 delegates from all over Austria were called to choose between Doksozil and left-wing candidate Andreas Babler. While Babler had come in first and second at a prior members’ vote, 53% opted for migration hardliner Doksozil from Burgenland on Saturday.
“We have to step up and make a better migration policy, a fairer one,” Doksozil said in Linz while at the same time ruling out a coalition with the far-right FPÖ.
Looking to the future, Dozkozil wants to focus on nursing policy and societal fairness.
Under his rule as the governor of Burgenland, the state’s holding has grown significantly, with 5,000 of the state’s total 300,000 being employed across the holding’s 80 different companies. Dozkozil also enacted a minimum wage for public sector workers.
But the SPÖ still needs to resolve staffing issues, particularly with two key elections looming.
Dokzsozil will not be able to assume the chief whip position previously assumed by former party chief Pamela Rendi-Wagner, as he does not have the parliamentary mandate to do so, and it remains unclear who will assume the managing director position.
Babler, who received 47% of the delegate vote on Saturday and represents the hopes of the party’s left wing, could be in the running for one of these positions, but nothing is yet set in stone.
Filling these positions appears somewhat pressing, however, as the Social Democrats will start working on a new programme in time for the European Parliament elections in June of 2024 – a testing ground ahead of the federal elections in the autumn of the same year.
“The next elections are the EU elections, and there is a lot at stake,” said Evelyn Regner, a SPÖ lawmaker in Brussels and vice-president of the hemicycle.
The EU lawmakers are anxious to get started on preparing for the election after months of leadership struggle paralysis. “Now is the time to talk less about the who, but the how” we enact our demands, Andreas Schieder, the head of the EU-SPÖ, told Falter.
Source: Eura CTIV