How will Ibizagate affect EU elections campaigns?
Since the publication of the video footage featuring former Vice-Chancellor Strache Austria has been in the grips of a major government crisis. Top government officials are now to replace the ministers of the far-right FPÖ who resigned their posts in government. Will Ibizagate, as the scandal has been dubbed, put a damper on the campaigns of the right-wing populists in other countries in Europe?
The positive side of the scandal
The Strache scandal also has a silver lining, Jutarnji list writes:
“The Ibizagate scandal that toppled the government of conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the far-right politician Heinz-Christian Strache is a gift to those who combat populism, nationalism and extreme parties. ... The best message of this scandal is that the experiment of the increasingly popular Chancellor Kurz, aimed at taming the far right through cooperation, has failed. This is the best news for all those who fight extremists. Because extremists on their own aren't the biggest threat to the EU. They only become dangerous when traditional parties adopt their arguments and start to work with them.”
Strache affair triggers domino effect
The Strache affair will have repercussions for populist and extremist parties that have ties to Russia in the European elections, Adevărul predicts:
“It is not the liberals or capitalists who are selling their land through measures like privatisation, but precisely the parties that cast themselves as the protectors of their countries and make a lot of noise with patriotic slogans. Lega and Movimento 5 Stelle in Italy, Marine Le Pen's Rassemblement National, and the far-right parties in the Netherlands, Denmark and Hungary could be weakened by this scandal. Government alliances between moderate and populist parties will be particularly hard hit. And also those movements that are backed by Russian oligarchs, Russian interests and Russian money are now under observation.”
Not the time to gloat
Kristeligt Dagblad has hopes that the Strache affair might boost voter turnout in the European elections:
“With the elections just around the corner, the Austrian scandal should be a lesson to Europe. Gloating is uncalled for, now that many politicians of the established parties are branding the far-right nationalists as corrupt and hoping that this will mobilise the people against the right-wing populists. The political experiment that consisted in allowing the Freedom Party to participate in the government has failed miserably. The same goes for Orbán's proposal to apply the Austrian model in the rest of Europe. The moral of the story is: Europe's democratic institutions must be bolstered by a high voter turnout, the press must be free and the rule of law should apply for everyone.”