Is the FPÖ right to contest election results?

The national conservative Freedom Party (FPÖ) is challenging the close results of Austria's presidential election in court. On Tuesday the party's leader Heinz-Christian Strache filed a 150-page document with the country's constitutional court listing irregularities in the election. With this move the FPÖ has once again successfully cast itself as the victim, some commentators object. Others take a positive view of the probe.

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Die Presse (AT) /

FPÖ skilfully casts itself as victim again

The FPÖ and its leader Heinz-Christian Strache only stand to gain from this step, Die Presse comments:

“Strache is turning out to be an epigone of Jörg Haider who has quickly realized how the victim role maximises votes: casting himself as hunted and persecuted by the old parties, by ORF [the Austrian national TV broadcaster], by the media in general, by the judiciary, by the establishment, by 'those above'. This strategy works also and precisely because the 'us against them' feeling goes down well with officials and sympathisers. And because a high percentage of FPÖ voters see themselves or are seen as losers, and fear social decline. For Strache, no matter how you look at it, contesting the presidential election results is a win-win situation.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Too many irregularities

The Freedom Party (FPÖ) is contesting the election results for purely strategic reasons but the probe is important for the country as a whole, argues the Süddeutsche Zeitung:

“With its initiative the FPÖ wants to secure its place in the dialogue - and in the role of victim. Right now the media and public are focussed mainly on the recent proposal of [ÖVP] Foreign Minister [Sebastian Kurz] to copy the Australian model and intern the refugees on Mediterranean islands or send them back to Africa. With this initiative he is cutting the ground from under the FPÖ's feet. Nonetheless it is a welcome development that the FPÖ is contesting the election results. It will be useful for Austria. There were too many irregularities, formal mistakes and slip-ups, particularly in the counting of postal votes. This needs to be examined and corrected and new regulations must be introduced so that the mistakes aren't repeated.”