Liste Pilz founder Peter Pilz has finally taken his seat in parliament after initially declining it in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against him after his party’s surprise win at the 2017 national elections. It was far from a triumphal entry however; at Monday’s swearing in, almost all female members of parliament staged a walkout in protest over the returning politician’s alleged sexual misconduct.
Pilz’s newly-created party caused an electoral upset which contributed to the Green Party failing to gain any seats on a national level. His personal triumph, however, would prove to be short-lived as almost immediately after the election detailed accounts of misconduct emerged. Particularly damning were the allegations by a former colleague, who documented around 40 cases of Pilz sexually harassing women.
Due to the scandal, the former Green Party politician chose not to take his seat in the national assembly but instead remained behind the scenes. Now, only a few months later, a chain of events has caused the disgraced veteran politician’s official return to the political stage. Liste Pilz chairman Peter Kolba resigned from his post in April and eventually left the party over differences in opinion, creating a vacancy in parliament. Maria Stern, a singer-songwriter, teacher and the next-in-line for his seat subsequently withdrew from consideration, opening up a path for Pilz’s return.
It appears that parliamentarians have not forgotten the 63-year-old’s tone-deaf statements that partially blamed a male-dominated culture for his personal shortcomings. And while protests were not limited to party affiliations, the walkout did not cross gender lines as male parliamentarians remained in the plenary hall for the swearing-in ceremony.
NEED TO KNOW
Due to a confluence of factors, Peter Pilz never faced official charges.
WHAT OTHERS SAID
“It’s enough! I will resign from my seat tomorrow and don’t want to have anything to do with this party anymore.” – former Liste Pilz chairman Peter Kolba