Burgenland governor Doskozil wins Austria’s Social Party leadership poll

Burgenland Governor Hans Peter Doskozil narrowly won the SPÖ poll among members to become the centre-left party's new leader - and possible candidate for Austrian chancellery.

Burgenland governor Doskozil wins Austria's Social Party leadership poll
Austrian SPÖ Burgenland governor Hans Peter Doskozil hasn't had contact with the man he lost party leadership to during a recount - prompting speculation of a intra-party rift between the men's camps. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Hans Peter Doskozil took the top spot in the SPÖ membership poll, the centre-left party announced on Monday.

Election administrator Michaela Grubesa said Doskozil received 33.68 percent of the votes cast by SPÖ members.

Traiskirchen Mayor Andreas Babler came second with 31.51 percent. Party chairwoman Pamela Rendi-Wagner came in at 31.35 percent. A total of 147,993 people were eligible to vote, and 107,133 votes were cast. Voter turnout was 72.79 percent.

It is still uncertain whether the party leadership will be definitively determined at this stage, as The Local has reported.

READ ALSO: ‘Inhuman speech’: Austria’s far-right blasted for wanting to tie social benefits to German skills

Formally, the members’ vote serves as a recommendation, and the delegates at the party congress will make the binding decision on June 3rd. While Rendi-Wagner and Doskozil said they intended to accept any defeat in the poll as final, Babler had stated he would contest a narrow deficit and proceed to a runoff at the party congress.

Rendi-Wagner, who came last according to the poll results, had been the leading candidate as the current leader of the Social Party. The Viennese 51-year-old is a feminist and politician who has served as the party’s chairwoman since late 2018.

However, as the SPÖ has dipped in voter intention polls (with a rise of the far-right FPÖ), her leadership and ability to put together a strong campaign ahead of the 2024 elections have been questioned.

Who is Hans Peter Doskozil?

Doskozil, the Burgenland governor, was also the primary opposition candidate in the run – and the man that started the race.

He has been one of the prominent critics of Rendi-Wagner’s political tactics and called for the SPÖ to have a more rigid stance as the opposition party. This year, he officially announced that he’d be running for the top position within the SPÖ party, challenging the current leadership.

READ ALSO: How do Austrians elect their chancellor?

Doskozil organised a strong campaign for the spot and said he would focus on projects already implemented in the eastern state where he is governor, such as defending a minimum wage of €2,000 and restructuring care facilities and free kindergarten.

The governor’s migration policy is based on the principle of “integration before new arrivals and rapid assistance on the ground”, according to his announced programme.

He was defence minister during 2016/17, at the height of the migrant crisis in Europe and is considered to have a tougher stance on asylum policies.

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One dead and 20 injured after Flixbus travelling from Berlin overturns in Austria

A woman was killed and 20 people were injured after a coach travelling from the German capital Berlin to Trieste in Italy came off the road in Austria.

One dead and 20 injured after Flixbus travelling from Berlin overturns in Austria

Police said a 19-year-old Austrian woman died after the bus overturned near Micheldorf, situated between Salzburg and Vienna, in the early hours of Tuesday morning. 

A 25-year-old German woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries following the crash. A further 20 people suffered injuries. 

According to a police spokeswoman, the bus was on its way to Trieste in northern Italy. The vehicle left the road on a motorway, hit a rail and flipped over on its side. 

Photos from the scene of the accident showed that it was a double-decker from the Flixbus company.

The scene of the bus crash in Austria.

The scene of the bus crash in Austria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/APA | Gert Eggenberger

According to initial investigations, two drivers and 40 passengers from Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Germany and Ukraine were on board, the spokeswoman said. According to police, a driver of a vehicle behind the bus alerted the emergency services. 

When they arrived, there were still injured people on the bus. They were rescued from the vehicle with the help of hydraulic equipment.

The cause of the accident remains unknown at this stage. Police said the alcohol tests carried out on the drivers were negative.  

Investigations into the crash will continue. 

READ ALSO: One dead and dozens injured after Flixbus overturns near Leipzig