Austria – government collapses, election called

In Austria the grand coalition between the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the Christian Democrats (ÖVP) has collapsed. The Christian Democrats withdrew from the coalition, which had been in office since January 2007, and called for early elections.

In response, the SPÖ Chancellor, Alfred Gusenbauer, has announced that an election will be held on 28 September. He has also announced that he will not seek re-election as Chancellor. He had already stepped down as the leader of the SPÖ in June.

The two Chancellor-candidates will be Werner Faymann for the SPÖ and Wilhelm Molterer for the ÖVP. At the last elections, the two parties each won about 34-35% of the vote. This time the ÖVP will be expecting to do better, even though Chancellor Gusenbauer, who is currently very unpopular, is standing down.

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