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National Council election 1995

The National Council election of 17 December 1995 was the last occasion on which Dr. Jörg Haider stood as the FPÖ’s lead candidate. Although the Freedom Party was able to increase its absolute number of votes, a significant increase in electoral turnout meant that it recorded a modest percentage decrease in its vote share. In numbers, it achieved 21.89% of the vote and 42 seats, which amounted to a loss of 0.61 percentage points and one seat.

The election was won by the SPÖ, which managed to increase both its vote and its seats, while the ÖVP also recorded modest gains. The Liberal Forum was able to get back into the National Council. The losers at this election were the Greens, who only very narrowly avoided dropping out of the National Council.

Brief description of the election campaign

After ÖVP Chairman Erhard Busek had resigned, Wolfgang Schüssel took over the party. Later, the ÖVP and SPÖ were no longer able to reach agreement on the budget, which meant that a mere 14 months after the last election, held in autumn 1994, a new National Council had to be elected.

During this short period, very little had changed in the Freedom Party’s election campaign strategy. Jörg Haider was presented as a down-to-earth alternative to the established parties, a contrast which the party sought to emphasise with the following slogan: “Er hat Euch nicht belogen” (“He has not lied to you”).

Also worthy of note is the fact that in 1995, the party did not use “FPÖ” on its posters and in its campaign advertisements, but “Die Freiheitlichen”. With this, the Freedom Party leadership was seeking to move away from the image of a party in the system and towards that of a citizens’ movement. Yet as early as 1999, the party’s posters returned to the tried-and-tested party name

Election result

The following parties and electoral lists, among others, stood for election at the National Council election of 1995:

Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs (SPÖ)
Österreichische Volkspartei (ÖVP)           
Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (FPÖ)
Liberales Forum (LIF)
Die Grünen – Die Grüne Alternative (GRÜNE)
Bürgerinitiative Nein zur EU - Austritt jetzt (NEIN)
Kommunistische Partei Österreichs (KPÖ)
Österreichische Naturgesetzpartei (ÖNP)
Die Beste Partei – Reinhard Eberhart (DBP)

Parties

Votes

Vote share 1995

±

Seats 1995

±

SPÖ

1,843,474

38.1%

+3.2%

71

+6

ÖVP

1,370,510

28.3%

+0.6%

52

±0

FPÖ

1,060,377

21.9%

-0.6%

41

-1

LIF

267,026

5.5%

-0.5%

10

-1

GRÜNE

233,208

4.8%

-2.5%

9

-4

Government formation

In March 1996, after extended coalition negotiations, the governing SPÖ and ÖVP re-established the Grand Coalition. Their combined share of parliamentary seats meant they had regained the parliamentary majority required to pass constitutional laws, which they had lost in 1994. 

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