Austria: Early signal for EU elections

There are 9,856 polling booths in the country. Some of them – for example, in Euratsfeld in Lower Austria and in the Tyrolean Bifunds – open their doors at 6 in the morning. Most polling stations open at 7:00 or 8:00 am. The official closing time for voting nationwide is 5 p.m., although polls are only open longer in Vienna. Polling stations close at 1pm in Vorarlberg, and in all other federal states you can sometimes vote until 4pm.

Across Austria, tens of thousands of people will be at the polls on Sunday – at polling stations, in bed-ridden “flying polling officers” and in the wake of municipal, district and state election officials and the electoral department of the Ministry of the Interior. The minimum voting age is 16. Austrian citizens, Austrians abroad and people from other EU countries are eligible to vote.

What you need to know about the EU elections?

The European Union elections, one of the world’s biggest democratic elections, are already in full swing. The Netherlands started elections on Thursday, followed by Ireland and the Czech Republic on Friday, and EU elections in Slovakia, Latvia and Malta started on Saturday. Most countries like Austria vote on Sunday.

Seven parties, 20 parliamentary seats

Seven parties are contesting the elections. In addition to the five parliamentary parties ÖVP, SPÖ, FPÖ, Greens and NEOS, the KPÖ and the CoV activities-critical DNA (Democratic – Neutral – Authentic) are also entering the race. At least four percent of the vote is required to enter the European Parliament.

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An analysis of the EU election campaign outside Austria

ORF correspondents Raffaela Schaidreiter, Andreas Pfeifer and Ernst Gelegs report from Brussels, Berlin and Budapest. They talk about how the election campaign outside of Austria should be classified before the EU elections.

ÖVP’s primary candidate Reinhold Lopatka, SPÖ and FPÖ are entering the race with their former delegation leaders Andreas Scheider and Harald Wilimski. Lena Schilling tops the ballot for the Greens and Helmut Brandstätter for NEOS. The primary candidate of the KPÖ is Günter Hopgartner, the first candidate on the DNA list is Maria Habmer-Möck.

Graphics: APA/ORF; Source: European Parliament

720 delegates were elected across Europe. This is 15 more than the EU elections five years ago. Austria has 20 seats, one more than in 2019. There are currently seven parliamentary committees in the European Union Parliament. The largest is the European People’s Party (EPP), to which the ÖVP belongs, followed by the social democratic S&D, of which the SPÖ is a part, and the liberal Renewal Europe NEOS.

The FPÖ belongs to the far-right party Identity and Democracy (ID), the Green Party belongs to the European Green Party. So far, the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the left have no Austrian representatives.

Studies show that right-wing parties are gaining ground

About 370 million people in 27 member states are eligible to vote. According to predictions, far-right factions EKR and ID will emerge strongly from the election. In Austria, the FPÖ is currently clearly first in the polls. Five years ago, the ÖVP became the strongest force, with the SPÖ coming in second, followed by the Freedom Party, the Greens and NEOS.

The EU election campaign has reached its final stage

At the end of the week, the parties were back on the campaign trail. On Thursday, the ÖVP wrapped up its election campaign ahead of the EU elections, followed on Friday by NEOS, the Greens, the FPÖ and the SPÖ.

In 2019, the turnout in this country was almost 60 percent. According to a recently published representative survey by the Austrian Association for European Politics (ÖGfE), 50 percent want to vote this year and 21 percent want to vote soon. The SPÖ, FPÖ, Greens and NEOS ended their election campaign on Friday, as did the DNA list. The ÖVP celebrated the end of its election campaign on Thursday, the KPÖ already on Tuesday.

Trend forecast at 5pm, results at 11pm

ORF, APA news agency and private broadcaster Puls24 will jointly issue a trend forecast on EU election results at 5pm. The basis for this is provided by surveys conducted by Institute Foresight, ARGE Elections and Peter Hajek during election week. Unlike forecasts, trend forecasting does not have a district end. This procedure was already used in the 2019 EU elections.

As required by the EU Commission, election officials are only allowed to send the results after the EU-wide polls have finished, which, as in 2019, will happen at 11 p.m. The EU Parliament will publish estimates and forecasts of results in member states from 6:15 p.m. From 8:15 there will be a first prediction on the future structure of the European Parliament.

Also time table

If defeated in the election, the newly elected representatives will begin the process of forming parliamentary committees from June 10. The first session will be held from July 16 to 19. Members of Parliament elect a new president. Formerly held by Roberta Metzola (EPP) from Malta.

If the heads of state and government of the EU member states have already agreed on a candidate for the presidency of the EU Commission, the parliament can vote in a secret election during this plenary session. Current EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is aiming for another term.

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