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Austrian Chancellor Faymann resigns

May 11th, 2016

As Chancellor Faymann steps down, pundits across the Hungarian political spectrum ponder the implications of the first round of the Austrian Presidential Election. All agree that the main reason for Faymann’s failure is the migration crisis.

Alles Gute, Herr Faymann!” Mariann Őry comments in Magyar Hírlap. The right-wing columnist thinks that Faymann stepped down so that the rise of the Freedom Party of Austria can be stopped. Őry claims that Faymann’s failure was partly due to the Chancellor’s stance towards the Orbán government. Őry believes that the FPÖ’s Norbert Hofer succeeded in the first round of the Presidential Election because he supported PM Orbán’s border fence project, while Faymann was one of its harshest critic.

In Magyar Idők, Levente Sitkei suggests that Austria has never had such an incompetent Chancellor as Faymann. The pro-government commentator thinks that Faymann’s biggest mistake was to downplay the threat of the migration wave and liken efforts to erect fences to Nazism.

The resignation of Faymann as Chancellor and party leader is unlikely to resolve the crisis of the Austrian Left, Tamás Rónay writes in Népszava. He attributes the decline of the Social Democratic Party to the the anti-migrant populism of the FPÖ. As the public discourse in Austria shifts to the Right, the Left faces a hard choice: cling to left-wing ideals and lose power, or join the populists in order to regain support, Rónay suggests.

Magyar Nemzet’s Áron Kuthi thinks that the fate of Chancellor Faymann and the Austrian Grand Coalition is a warning to all mainstream parties in Europe. The cooperation of centre-right and centre-left parties is fine in normal times, but it seems that in a crisis, consensual politics do not work, the conservative columnist notes. Mainstream parties that fail to recognize the importance of identifying migration as a key theme have little chance of wining elections in Hungary, Kuthi suggests. PM Orbán’s current success in Hungary is due to his early recognition of this necessity, he believes.

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