A Decision Help for Austrian and Other EU Voters

Monday, May 11, 2009

Do you have the same problem in deciding who you will cast your vote for in the EU parliamentary elections in the first week of June?
I dug myself through the political promises of all Austrian parties competing in the EU parliamentary elections in the past weeks, scrutinizing their agendas for European policy in the next 5 years. I have to admit I did not waste my time with the 2 far-right nationalist contenders FPÖ and BZÖ as nobody could be farther away from my political opinion. I don’t even want to honour them with a link to their sites. If they deem it necessary they shall go blog themselves. Condemning any form of racism, xenophobia and supremacist ideologies this reduced my voting choices to the other 6 parties.

Surfing through the websites ofdid not help my decision process. 
As I am certainly left leaning I tended to disregard the Conservatives and the Young Liberals. So I am basically left with Social Democrats, Greens, Independents and Communists (whom I consider a vital part for a functioning democratic process as the Austrian political sphere is unfortunately dominated by center to right wing parties.)
Having attended the curtain rising event of the Social Democrats I was delighted to see that the term class warfare has found its way back into the semantics of the party that had changed its name from Socialists to Social Democrats in the last millennium while being led by a bank CEO.
Conservatives Acting Stalinist 
The stalinist style of the Conservatives who had almost no other agenda after the elections in 2000 than to put their cronies into vital positions rules them out as achoice for me either. If they have only the aim to put “their” people in ministries and the Austrian bureaucracy on the domestic level I don’t even want to ponder what they want to do within the Bruessels Moloch. (In modern English usage, “Moloch” can refer derivatively to any person or thing which demands or requires costly sacrifices.)
As their hypocritical tactics say “no more taxes” on the one hand, the other hand was busy in the last 8 years to raise prices for federal, state and community services. (isn’t this what we are paying taxes for?) This is highly biased towards their loyal constituency, consisting mainly of public employees and farmers.
A deep rift within the Conservatives showed up when they nominated former interior minister Ernst Strasser as their top candidate, putting old-hand MEP Otmar Karas only in second position. This resulted in an outcry from all former ÖVP party heads who rejected to form an election committee for him. Strasser is the architect of Austria’s “Sicherheitspolizeigesetz” (literal translation: police may do almost anything without a warrant) and also rushed a law on online surveillance in a coup-like style through parliament in December 2007. Without going too much into detail; the Nazis would certainly have liked his strategy of throwing a total surveillance net with today’s technical possibilities over this small neutral country.
While I can sympathize with the Greens for the fact that they try to revoke the shift to a police state that has been ongoing in Austria since the beginning of the new millennium, I have my problems as they have a blind spot in terms of an economic policy. Their constituency consists mainly of the younger generation who cannot find enough truly social engagement within the SPÖ and affluent older voters who mainly worry about costly biological food.
I ticked off the young liberals as well, as their agenda focuses mainly on student’s issues. I am past that age but maybe my teenage daughter is interested in them.
Having seen enough election promises that were not fulfilled later, I am very wary for whom I should cast my vote.
A little more web surfing resulted in finding a truyl useful help for my decision process.
Wahlkabine.at (polling booth) part of the international network Vote Match Europe with partners from 11 European countries offers an online survey that can be done in a few minutes. They also offer an English version for those internationalists that want to give it the Austrian try.
Listing 25 questions concerning the agenda of the EU parliament ranging from issues such as whether the EU should employ military forces to fend off African boat people looking for a better opportunity in life than their continent can offer (with a Czech last name, my predecessors were certainly economical refugees who came to Vienna in search of a more human life 100 years ago) to the issue whether I would want to vote for MEPs from other countries. I like this one especially as this method would certainly be a better idea to further the pan-European process.
The results of my choices at the wahlkabine website were a big surprise for me. I ended up with the Greens in the top position who could score 289 points with me. The Communists came in a close second with 273 points. I was astonished to see the Social Democrats coming in with only 13 points on place 4, behind Liste Martin. The Conservatives followed on fifth place with a mere 9 points. And I am proud that xenophobic FPÖ was left in the dust with minus 59 points.
NOTE: This post gets crossposted at TH!INKABOUTIT.EU, a EU blogging initiative in the runup to the EU parliamentary elections from June 4 to June 7.

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