It’s election day and as these lines are being written, it’s too close to call. It may be just as well, as it doesn’t really matter who Austria’s next head of state will be. Whoever gets to spend the next six years in the Hofburg will inherit a deeply polarized electorate, antagonizing almost half of his constituency from day one. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, Democracy is 51% of the people taking away the rights of the other 49%. Any regime that lasted has inherently understood that it can’t survive long by going against the sentiments of the public. But how to build consensus in the current climate? The Greens and Neos don’t have the clout (yet after this election, nothing surprises me), leaving a ménage á trois of two tired parties of fading mass appeal in the death throes of a dysfunctional marriage, and a dynamic suitor that proved when last in power that it was easily as corrupt as the other two. Our courts are still dealing with the fallout.
Anybody would be hard-pressed to authorize a government up to the today’s challenges with those ingredients. So hail to the chief.
He’s gonna need it.