GOVERNMENT PARTICIPATION 1983
After the SPÖ lost its absolute majority at the 1983 National Council elections, it formed a coalition government with the FPÖ under Norbert Steger. This was the first occasion on which the Freedom Party participated in government.
The red-blue coalition government under Federal Chancellor Fred Sinowatz and Vice-Chancellor Norbert Steger represents the completion of the integration of the historically-evolved Third Camp into the political system. When the FPÖ was founded as the successor to the League of Independents (Verband der Unabhängigen, VdU), it was perceived as a party of former National Socialists and as a successor grouping to the national-liberal parties of the interwar period and the old Habsburg monarchy. It was not one of the founding parties of the Second Republic.
Steger and his comrades-in-arms recognised that the overall societal change which had taken place in the aftermath of 1968 and during the age of social democratic pre-eminence meant that the ideological underpinning of a future-oriented party required a stronger shift towards liberalism. That was a logical insight and acting on it could also help overcome the odium of proximity to Nazi ideology. This first period of Freedom Party participation in government demonstrated that even though the FPÖ lacked the kind of extensive pre-political arena networks on which the old parties could rely (in the form of the Chambers system and other remnants of the corporatist state), it was nonetheless able to deliver objective policies and sound government work.
Norbert Steger was Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry. Harald Ofner was Minister of Justice, while Friedrich Frischenschlager and his successor, Helmut Krünes, served as Minister for Defence. Gerulf Murer was State Secretary for Agriculture; Holger Bauer State Secretary for Finance and Mario Ferrari-Brunnenfeld was State Secretary in the Ministry of Health.
Further article: Government participation under Norbert Steger.
Here is the film.
(seated, from left to right) Günter Haiden, Alfred Dallinger, Norbert Steger, Fred Sinowatz, Gertrude Fröhlich-Sandner, Leopold Gratz, Karl Blecha
(standing, from left to right) Erich Schmidt, Franz Vranitzky, Franz Löschnak, Ferdinand Lacina, Beatrix Eypeltauer, Harald Ofner, Heinz Fischer, Holger Bauer, Karl Sekanina, Gerulf Murer, Kurt Steyrer, Johanna Dohnal, Herbert Moritz, Mario Ferrari-Brunnenfeld, Friedhelm Frischenschlager
Pictured below: The FPÖ members of the Government.