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Alexander Van der Bellen is sworn in as Austria's president at parliament, Vienna, Jan. 26, 2017 (AP photo by Ronald Zak).

How Austrian Politics Went From Over-Stability to Unpredictability

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Austria’s democracy, for decades one of the most stable political systems in Europe, is entering a new period of uncertainty. The balance between left and right—developed after its experiences with authoritarianism in the 1930s and seven years of totalitarian Nazi rule—is probably coming to an end. The tradition of power-sharing arrangements between two major parties that has defined Austria for most of its postwar history seems to have lost its appeal. Snap parliamentary elections, scheduled for October, could be a decisive turning point for Austrian politics.

This does not mean that the country’s liberal democracy is in danger. Rather, Austria’s political culture, still comfortably within a democratic framework, is in a process of significant of reorientation. It is becoming less stable, but possibly more open for innovation. ...

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