The results of the Graz elections took an unexpected turn on Sunday when the Communist Party (KPÖ) overtook the ruling conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) by a large margin. According to preliminary final results from the Styrian capital on Monday morning, the ÖVP lost 12.1%, falling to 25.7%.
The KPÖ increased to 28.9% (+8.8%). This meant the end of Mayor Siegfried Nagl’s 18-year term in office. Nagl announced his resignation on Sunday night still, without waiting for the postal ballot.
If the results hold, then Elke Kahr could be the first KPÖ mayor of a provincial capital in Austria. Kahr did not yet say whether she would take the post.
The KPÖ victory came as quite a surprise as the party has not had a governing role on a provincial or federal level since 1959. In Vienna’s municipal elections in 2020, the KPÖ managed to win around 2%, whereas barely ever make the ballot in Tyrol and Vorarlberg. In Graz, on the other hand, they have been on the city council for 16 years. They managed to win voter support by focusing on housing, positioning themselves as fighting for the little guy, thereby gaining many undecided voters.
The Greens were in third place, according to the preliminary results including post-ballot expectations, reaching 17.3% (+6.8% compared with the last election in 2017).
The right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) came in fourth with 10.9% (-5%) and just ahead of the Social Democrats (SPÖ) with 9.6% (-0.5%). The NEOS reached 5.3% (+1.4%) at the Graz elections.
Reported in cooperation with the Austrian Press Agency / APA.