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National Council election 2006

The National Council election of 1 October 2006 was the first occasion on which Heinz-Christian Strache stood as lead candidate of the FPÖ. The Freedom Party obtained 11.04 percent of the vote, which amounted to an increase of 1.03 percentage points, as well as 21 seats, an increase of 3.

The winner of the election was the SPÖ, whose leader, Alfred Gusenbauer, acquired the chancellorship, while the ÖVP suffered heavy losses. For the first time, the Greens succeeded in winning marginally (about 500) more votes than the FPÖ and thus became the third-strongest party in the National Council.

Brief description of the election campaign

Following the 2005 breakaway from the party of Jörg Haider and the BZÖ, the FPÖ was on the path to consolidation. The new FPÖ Federal Party Chairman, Heinz-Christian Strache, was able to score well at the Vienna provincial election of autumn 2005 and in the autumn of 2006, assumed the role of FPÖ lead candidate.

As early as spring 2006, the FPÖ launched into the election campaign with the referendum petition “Österreich bleib frei” (“Austria remain free”). With this, it was positioning itself in favour of Austrian neutrality and against the increasing centralisation of the European Union. Additional campaign themes were immigration and the threat of Islamisation.

Central Freedom Party themes were the rejection of Turkish accession to the EU, the rejection of an EU constitution, the rejection of an increase in Austria’s financial contribution to the EU, as well as a tightening of citizenship law, an end to immigration and combating asylum abuse. This was also reflected in the campaign poster slogans, which included “Heimat statt Schüssel und Brüssel” (“Homeland, not Schüssel and Brussels“), “Sozialstaat statt Zuwanderung” (“Welfare state, not immigration”), “Daham statt Islam” (“At Home, not Islam“) and “Sichere Pensionen statt Asyl-Millionen” (“Secure pensions, not asylum millions”).

As had already been the case at the elections to the Vienna provincial parliament, Heinz-Christian Strache took his place in a "Duel for Austria" between him as challenger on the one side and Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP) and Alfred Gusenbauer (SPÖ) on the other.

Election result

The following parties and electoral lists, among others, stood for election at the National Council election of 2006:

Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs (SPÖ)
Österreichische Volkspartei (ÖVP)           
Die Grünen – Die Grüne Alternative (GRÜNE)
Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (FPÖ)
Liste Westenthaler – BZÖ (BZÖ)
Liste Dr. Martin – (MATIN)
Kommunistische Partei Österreichs (KPÖ)
EU-Austritt – Neutrales Freies Österreich (NFÖ)
Sozialistische LinksPartei, Liste gegen Kapitalismus und Rassismus (SLP)
Sicher - Absolut - Unabhängig, Franz Radinger (SAU)
Initiative 2000 (IVE)           
Liste Stark (STARK)

The ÖVP suffered heavy losses. Despite also losing votes, the SPÖ won the election overall. Both the Greens and the FPÖ gained votes, with the latter coming out clearly ahead of the BZÖ, which had been founded in 2005 and only just managed to enter the National Council.

Parties

Votes

Vote share 2006

±

Seats 2006

±

SPÖ

1,663,986

35.3%

-1.17%

68

-1

ÖVP

1,616,493

34.3%

-7.97%

66

-13

GRÜNE

520,130

11.04%

+1.58%

21

+4

FPÖ

519,598

11.03%

+1.03%

21

+3

BZÖ

193,539

4.11%

d.n.s

7

+7

Government formation

The outcome of the 2006 National Council election led to the return of the SPÖ-led “Grand Coalition”.

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