hofburg hoschi

This time tomorrow Austria will finally have made it’s say, after a testing trial ultra marathon of a run up to election day that clearly took its toll.

The campaign for the election for presidency has lasted a year now. From the first round in late April emerged far right Norbert Hofer and his center left counterpart, Alexander van der Bellen. The later won the run-off ballot, but the election was contested and after long consideration, the high court said it was to be re run, not because of manipulations, but because manipulations would have been possible.

Around that time a cheaper supplier of the envelopes containing ballot papers was commissioned. Which ended in a disaster, when it came to show that the glue does not stick longer than a few hours, if at all. Which led to the re run getting postponed from October to December.

It’ll go one way or the other, only a few hours now, before Schrodinger’s box gets opened. Whatever the result and its significance, it’ll be over interpreted by the winning side and leave the other half of the electorate in shock for a week or two.

I cast my postal vote (and carefully pressed the envelope closed) a few weeks ago. Apart from reading a few news bites here and there, I did not follow the campaign much, but it seemed that the mood among the general public has not been cheerful, to say the least.

Without a doubt, three trends will be repeated: Densely populated urban areas will show a left leaning vote, while the majority of the countryside will do the opposite. Same for older versus younger voters to some extend, and most notably the correlation between education and voter behavior.

It’s not coincidental, those three areas should receive a lot more attention from politics and the media than they do. Which is valid beyond my small, beautiful and sometimes unnerving home country.

Further ignoring to address and act on these issues is guaranteed to lead to many more signs of populations seemingly drowning in ever growing complexities and uncertainties, led by an over strained political system that has proven unable to solve those problems.

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It’s come that far that some of my hope, that tomorrow will see van der Bellen as the new president, rests with Nigel Farage. Lauding Norbert Hofer, the Brexit champion claimed that a president Hofer would certainly make way for a EU referendum in Austria, something which Hofer had previously mentioned, but tried to revoke in recent months. Austria has hugely benefited from being in the EU and has remained rather pro European through last years surge in refugees and tensions with neighboring countries. So maybe, just maybe, Farage for once did a vital disservice to his cause; fingers crossed.

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