Ridiculous Elections

If you are currently located in Austria, you can’t escape the election campain for the federal president. The austrian federal president is often seen as a surrogate emperor. Although the federal president is formal the head of the state, he has nearly no political power in the constitution.
With this background both candidates were selected by their parties because they don’t have a strong opinion and “somehow” can be elected by everyone.
This makes it difficult to run a campain, because it is nearly impossible to talk about goals and the candidates opinion on a specific topics is relevant only for catching voters. Benita Ferrero Waldner writes a ridiculous weblog and Heinz Fischer tries to impress the young voters with cheesy parties like “Dancing for Democracy”
I often wonder how politicians with no own opinion can survive, as being politician implies that they have to make descions especially if they are holding an office. Both candidates of this election have made questionable decisions that did show that they are not able to run their office (“Causa Wiesenthal”, “Volxtheaterkarawane”), and i think that if they have been politicians in a larger country (like e.g. Germany) they would have been forced to retire years ago.
However I can’t really compare Germany and Austria, as in Germany the president is elected by the parliamentarians and not by the population, so the german president elections are not that ridiculous, as there is no need to launch guranteed content-free pseudo election campaigns.
Weblink: Hinter dem Laecheln, why you should not vote for BFW.

2 thoughts on “Ridiculous Elections”

  1. Sorry, you’re wrong when you say that the president has “nearly no power”.
    After parliamentary elections, it is the president who instates the chancellor of the new government; he also instates the government ministers (who are nominated by the chancellor), he can dissolve government and call new elections at any time, and he also has to agree to most laws passed by parliament and can stop them if he wishes to.
    That’s quite a lot of power if it’s in the wrong hands, and that’s also the reason why the president is elected by the people and not by parliament. It’s also obvious why some people want to abolish the office and give all these powers to the chancellor – even though most of these powers are theoretical, their mere presence should make sure that some power-hungry politicians won’t get out of control.

  2. Okay, perhaps I should have written, “although the constitution equippes the president with a few powerful instruments, he has de-facto no active role in politics”. I have been living in Vienna for around 5 years, and the only time I have seen President Klestil influencing the government, was when he prohibted some blue politicians becoming government ministers back in 2000.
    It looks like we disagree on the role of the president in the system of checks and balances, between Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary. In my opinion it is not the role of the president to control the government. This should be done by the constitution court and the parliament. Unfortunately the parliament does a bad job, because of the “Parteienproporz” and the high barrier for forming an inquiry committee.

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