Austria has a new president and the country is united, in that 100% of its people are convinced 50% are idiots.
With my vote having been cast more than two weeks ago it was a drudging run up to last Sunday, and the finale could hardly have been any more dramatic. Voter turnout was at 72%, higher than in the previous ballot and, crucially, 14% were postal votes.
They extended the drama into Monday, as Sunday’s count was too close too call, an exact 50/50 with 144.000 more votes to one side. The dark side.
The suspense this afternoon gave way to a big relief when the final result was announced. With just thirtythousand votes between the two candidates (at a total of over 4.5 Million people who exercised their right to vote), the Green Party candidate, Alexander van der Bellen, won. “Arschknapp”, has he coined it in the run up.
For the first time Austria has a president that did not get nominated by the formerly large centre right and left parties, he’s the son of an immigrant (do you read that, Bernie Sanders?) and a former university professor.
On that note, the biggest factor, 20% greater than the gender gap mentioned in the caption above, was the level of education. Higher education expands the horizon, but can also increase social mobility, limitations of which are a big worry for those who feel threatened by change and all things unknown.
Across the world, the politics of fear seem to be on the rise. At least that’s what the media is hungry and happy to report, understandably, as reporting is not a shortcut to solving an issue, but has become big business. However, having the focus on the same settings permanently does injustice to reality. I’m not talking about principles, but perspectives.
uhbp stands for “Unser Herr Bundespräsiden”, our Mr. President, the equivalentof the slightly more renowned POTUS; with elections to that office and the vote on Britain to remain in the EU (or not) a month today two democratic decisions with international relevance are just around the corner.
The first sentence of this post is translated from a tweet I read somewhere today, I was not able to track down who originally wrote it, apologies for lack of credit, it’s a good one.