Industrialists Call for Fresh Elections After Chancellor Steps Down

Austria's Chancellor Werner Faymann arrives for the European Union summit in Brussels on March 17, 2016, where 28 EU leaders will discuss the ongoing refugee crisis.

After the sudden resignation of Chancellor Werner Faymann this week, an association of industrialists are calling for new elections to regain the trust of businesses.

The shocking and sudden resignation of Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann came as a surprise to Austrians and to the European community. His stepping down from the office came after his Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPO) was wiped out by the anti-mass migration Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) in the recent first round of the Austrian presidential elections.

Christoph Neumayer, Secretary General of the Association of Industrialists, has said that the move should be followed by a new election saying that under the current regime Austrian businesses have lost in trade and prestige compared to other countries on the international stage, Frankfurter Allgemeine reports.

Neumayer said that although there are elections scheduled for 2018 the new Chancellor and his or her regime would be more credible if they had a mandate from the people rather than inheriting their posts from another’s previous electoral success. He said that it was important that the government regain the trust it had lost during the presidential elections where most voters turned to the FPO and Green party.

The results saw the OVP winning no districts in the capital for the first time since 1945.

Both workers and small business owners voted for the FPO and the Greens, and Neumayer says that in order to win them back the mainstream parties need to break up the notorious Austrian bureaucracy, reform education, make the federal government more efficient and introduce more flexible hours for workers.  Only then, he says, will there be “a chance to solidify economic development, and the mood of businesses will get brighter.”

According to current polls, the mainstream parties would not stand a chance if an election were held today. The winner of a current election by far and large would be the FPO, and Neumeyer said he would not be against an FPO-led government as long as it was economically capable.

Many blame the migrant crisis for the rapid rise of the Freedom Party and its leader Heinz Christian Strache; but political scientist Peter Filzmaier disagrees saying, “the low rate of satisfaction not only has to do with the subject of asylum and refuge, but has an economic background.” He said he had little faith in an election happening before 2018, but stressed that Austrians cared as much about a deteriorating school system and job prospects as they do about the migrant crisis and the FPO are the most successful regarding these issues.