Demo in Vienna after Strache video
Austria learns that members of government would sell their land for donations to Russian oligarchs. What are you doing there – as a people?
VIENNA taz | What is this democracy, this power of the people? A cardboard sign? "Short end" is written on it, painted on cardboard with white ink. Doofer joke. Anyone who prefers to do so enjoys the joke with the name of the Austrian Chancellor. That happens often.
The power of the people, are these many cardboard signs? "Real patriots sell the crown to Austrian oligarchs"; "Glock you know?" "No"
The Austrian people moved to Vienna's Ballhausplatz this Saturday to talk about democracy, maybe argue, romp, that's not what anyone knows. It's only been hours since this video emerged that discredited the government's smaller coalition partner. Hans-Christian Strache can be seen as a young man was neo-Nazi, at the time of video recording but already politician of the Freedom Party of Austria, FPÖ. With him: Johann Gudenus from his party. He in turn uses National Socialist terms such as "Umvolkung" and travels to the Crimea.
In the video, the two men sit in a villa in Ibiza and promise a Russian oligarch deals with which they can shop in Austria, if they only donate money to their party, the FPÖ. Infrastructure, media, everything possible. That was 2017.
Today it turns out: The woman was not an oligarch but a decoy. But today Strache is vice-chancellor, Gudenus Klubobmann, so faction leader. And because that feels wrong, these people are here. They are facing the chancellery, head of government Sebastian Kurz would come to the window, he could look down to the people. Or over to the Hofburg, to the old imperial residence, which stands behind the people. His curtains are drawn.
What has happened so far:
Friday, 6 pm: The mirror, Southgerman newspaper and the butterfly publish the video.
Saturday, 10.16 clock: A spokesman for the Chancellery sends an SMS. Therein, the text of a news agency, Strache will arrive at 11 clock at the Chancellor, the Chancellor explain later. But that says the news agency and not the speaker.
After the collapse of the coalition between the ÖVP and the FPÖ, the Austrians are to elect a new parliament in early September. This announced German President Alexander Van der Bellen on Sunday after a conversation with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP). (AP)
Saturday, morning: Journalists report from circles of the chancellor party, there should be new elections. Or not?
Saturday, 12.24 clock: The Ballhausplatz is well filled. The people are standing in groups, bowed, their ears turned to each other. Rarely is a lot so quiet. Only one mumbles. Hans-Christian Strache, out of the speakers of the phones. He is the first people's representative on this day who says he will resign.
He says, "Yes, it was a big story."
"It was a typically alcoholic macho posturing."
"The only criminal offense that exists is this secretly staged Lockfalle with illegal record."
"We want to continue implementing the government program. However, my person should not be the reason for making that impossible and perhaps providing an excuse to blow up this government, because that was the goal of this unlawfully-created, concerted dirt-dumping campaign. "
There are more videos
Cheers break out, real jubilation, real joy over a political act. Is that democracy? A coach splits the cheering people and drives through the crowd.
There appear even more videos, spread on Twitter via an account that was created on Friday evening. This time around, there are rumors spreading about the FPÖ men, about Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, about sex parties. Johann Gudenus files his resignation in writing.
And Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz? He has to think at this time.
The revelation does not hit the country without warning. Back in April, Jan Böhmermann had made a joke at an awards ceremony, Strache and Gudenus could have known. One day before the publication, the journalists had asked for a position. That too would have been an opportunity to expose the case. And then parliamentarians asked Sebastian Kurz this week: what does he know about Russia's attempts to influence the EU election campaign? The FPÖ is good friends with Putin, and then there should be no attempts of influence? Does his party, the Austrian People's Party ÖVP, accept donations from there? Sebastian Kurz did not answer.
Where is the opposition?
Strache suggested in the video to Russian speakers, the country's most influential tabloid, the Kronen-Zeitung to buy. "Zack, zack, zack," he said. The FPÖ is constantly trying to restrict press freedom, the country has recently slipped from 11th place to 16th place in the worldwide reporters without borders. An FPÖ official from the Board of Trustees of Public Broadcasting said: "In football, I would be glad if we fall back only on place 16." Press freedom is a human right – and some in the FPÖ apparently not so important.
The press, on the other hand, is working on the scandals, this week alone: a leak that published Social Democratic passwords, apparently from someone in the party. The realization that the police politely knocked at the head of the identities when they wanted to investigate his home for his connections to the Christchurch terrorist, and waited a full twelve minutes for him to open the door. The ban on wearing headscarves at primary schools.
How should one be outraged?
With red whistles. A drum group drumming this demo rhythm. Or a book entitled "Attitude."
Mark Vollmann keeps it up. For eight hours, he will add up in the evening, because he is worried that Mr. Kurz, he really says "Mr. Short", will benefit from the situation. But this day is just the logical consequence of what Mr. Kurz started two years ago.
Back then, when Kurz pushed away in his ÖVP, who always stood in his way. The ex-party leader, for example, who has since written a book that is called "Attitude" and the Mark Vollmann now holds in the air, although he does not even elect the ÖVP. Mark Vollmann stands there in a trench coat and briefcase, he looks excited, elated, as many here on the square. Is there a word that describes the day? "Disbelief". Later he also says "kafkaesk".
Perhaps this describes this intermediate moment: kafkaesk-exhilarating bewilderment.
A police helicopter circles above the people
Sebastian Kurz thinks until 19.45 clock. Then he steps in front of the press. Now a police helicopter circles over the people. A gray-haired man is on his way to the famous Burgtheater. He stops when he sees a demonstrator with this sticker. "Vienna hates the ÖVP" stands on it. "You see," says the gray-haired to his gray-haired, "that has escalation potential. The police are now afraid that this also goes to the Chancellery. "
But should not the ÖVP Chancellery and not just the FPÖ? Do not belong to a government of scandals two coalition parties?
Sebastian Kurz says: "In the last two years, we have implemented exactly what we promised in the election campaign." Next: "And despite all the incidents today, I sincerely want to thank all members of the government for this implementation work." Finally: "And yet: Enough is enough. "Then the live broadcast on the smartphones breaks off. It's like New Year's Eve. Is already midnight? And now?
Cheers, confetti where the internet still works. The Chancellor has announced new elections as soon as possible. "Real now?", Chatter from the crowd. "I did not think so." "What does he say? New elections? "That's how it works for a few minutes.
Democracy on this day: Selfies in victory pose, high-five gestures, chants that sound like minors football fans after the first canned beer and later drown the whole Ballhausplatz as in festival singing. "Niiiiiiiie more, niiiiie more FPÖ!"
Or is this the powerlessness of the people?
A woman with a familiar face comes to the square. In Germany she is a cook, in Austria the top candidate for the European elections, Sarah Wiener. She talks about the Soup Festival and the European event that she has visited today. Climate change, biodiversity, factory farming, all these huge issues that make them into politics when things are going well, and so do the polls on the European elections.
But it works infinitely far away. On the Ballhausplatz it's about tomorrow and today and on the tarmac in front of the Chancellery someone wrote in white chalk: "Happy Ibiza Day".
. (tagsToTranslate) Heinz-Christian Strache (t) Vienna (t) Sebastian Kurz (t) FPÖ (t) ÖVP (t) Austria (t) Ibizagate (t) Strache-Video (t) Europe (t) Politics (t) tAZ (t) daily