Today I learned about something that shocked me. At the moment Austria has elections for its new president, the first round was on last Sunday. You may know me from other politics threads as a convinced non-voter and someone who doesn't care about politics, so that's why it took a few days until I picked up the news. Anyway, the results of the first round of the presidential election show that the FPÖ's candidate won comfortably (35% of the votes, second place came in at 21%, third at 19%). The FPÖ is basically the equivalent of Germany's AfD, so in the most basic terms it's the nazi party. The two parties who have traditionally ruled in Austria (SPÖ and ÖVP) saw their candidates come in fourth and fifth place (out of six). That's bad enough on its own, but when you consider that the sixth candidate is a dude that people would only vote for giggles, then it's really, really, really bad. The second round of elections (three weeks from now) will only concern the top two of the first round.
What's interesting about Austria is that its president has the right to call off the currently elected government and that doesn't even require the mention of a specific reason. So if the nazi FPÖ guy wins the election, he could do just that (because the current government isn't ordering Austria's military to shoot refugees or something like that) and we would get new elections for that other thing. Then the FPÖ keeps riding its current wave of success and gets the power, expands their business to Germany and you can imagine the rest.
But instead of behaving like a Nintendo fan who is furious because of the umpteenth delay of a Zelda game, let's think about this reasonably. Why did the FPÖ's candidate win anyway? Keep in mind how little I care about politics, so don't read my explanations as irrefutable facts.
1. I am sure you've heard of the refugee crisis in Europe. It has been a great tool to garner votes for nazi parties in many countries to bank on the hatred against refugees.
2. The interesting stat that I have in front of me is that 2016's election had 68.5% of eligible voters making use of their right, as opposed to only 53.6% in 2010. (Presidential elections are held every six years in Austria.) So not only has the refugee crisis swayed previous voters to switch, but it also got a lot of non-voters to come out of the woodwork.
3. I think it's reasonably to assume that there is a large rift between people who vote FPÖ and those who don't. This means that the FPÖ gets all votes of likeminded people while the remaining votes are distributed among the rest of the parties. So when the second round of elections is reduced to just the top two candidates, the FPÖ guy won't get many more votes than before while his rival should be able to pick up a large chunk of the people who voted for neither of the top two in the first round. So the horror scenario that Austria might join Germany yet again is implausible.
Conclusion: I am not going to vote. Not worth my time.