Tag Archives: austria

World Review: America and China, Austrian vaccination and India’s farmers

It has been an interesting week for Sino-American relations and China in its own right. It started with the two countries agreeing to cooperate on climate change policies. There were no details in this proposed pact, but a start had been made. This was followed by a three-hour virtual summit between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping. Both sides basically re-stated long-held positions on trade, Taiwan, the South China Sea and human rights. But it was done in a friendly manner which meant another reasonable start. Then things started going downhill. The Americans are very upset about the new Chinese hypersonic missile and are being loud in their condemnation. Then Biden said he was considering refusing to send a diplomatic delegation to the Beijing Winter Olympics. The athletes can go, but the normal contingent of accompanying politicians are now expected to stay at home to protest Chinese human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 20 Comments

Earthquake in Austria

Austria Hofer

 

Last Sunday, the post-war consensus in Austrian politics was swept away. Nobert Hofer, from the far right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), came top with 35% in the first round of the presidential elections and faces a run off Alexander van der Bellen, a former leader of and supported by the Greens, who received 21% and came first in most cities including Vienna. Turnout was a respectable 69%. The campaign for the second round ballot on May 22 is likely to be bruising and divisive. Forecasts suggest that Hofer will win.

This was no earthquake as the FPÖ had performed well in local elections last October. This time Hofer’s result was significantly better than the polls had predicted. The Greens were also pleased with van der Bellen’s result. NEOS, our young sister party, had backed Irmgard Griss who came third with 19%. They are now supporting van der Bellen ‘for the Republic’.

Austria van Bellen

The candidates supported by the two main parties came fourth and fifth with around 11% each. The Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) have provided all previous presidents since the Second World War and are currently governing together in a grand coalition. The coalition is now responding by tightening asylum laws and building more border fences.

Posted in Op-eds | 8 Comments
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