Doskozil against Rendi-Wagner: power struggle in the SPÖ
Dhe power struggle in Austrian social democracy, which has been smoldering for some time and which SPÖ domestically paralyzed, has broken out openly. On Tuesday afternoon, Burgenland’s governor, Hans Peter Doskozil, announced that he was running for the party chairmanship currently held by Pamela Rendi-Wagner. Through open criticism and the short-notice scheduling of meetings of the party bodies, Doskozil had evidently persuaded Doskozil to put his cards on the table earlier than originally intended.
So far, Doskozil had hinted that the SPÖ would have to discuss its “lineup” before the next National Council election, which will take place in autumn 2024 at the latest. But that should only happen after the regional elections in the state of Salzburg, which are due at the end of April.
However, it is still unclear how the decision will be made. According to media reports, Rendi-Wagner planned to convene an early party conference at the board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Doskozil insists on a ballot among the SPÖ members.
The assumption behind this is that he has made himself unpopular with many party officials with controversial statements, but is popular at the grassroots level. However, Rendi-Wagner could use the statutes to prevent such a survey, because it is actually stipulated there that a federal party conference decides on the chairmanship.
Doskozil wrote to the presidium and board of the SPÖ that he had decided to run for party chairmanship. After consultation with his party friends from the SPÖ Burgenland, he wanted to do this in connection with “our program, our content and a broad team”. He will propose in the committees to bring about a membership decision.
This “gives the necessary clarity” to “hold the elections on April 23 undisturbed”, i.e. in Salzburg. However, Doskozil made it clear that he would not be available for an election at a “hasty organized special party conference”.
Doskozil stands for a social-democratic course that focuses on traditionally “left” issues such as minimum wage and state intervention in social and economic policy, but on strictness and restriction when it comes to security and migration. In Doskozil’s words: “Of course, this also includes a clear and constitutional position on the issues of asylum and migration.”
This course is potentially met with approval in the non-city states, the Salzburg SPÖ state association is expressly one of Doskozil’s allies, possibly also Lower Austria, which has a large number of members. Doskozil is rejected by the leadership of the Viennese SPÖ under Mayor Michael Ludwig, by the party youth SJ, also in the SPÖ women’s organization, but also on the trade union wing (which apparently sees itself deprived of its own opportunities to influence collective bargaining policy due to the minimum wage for public employees in Burgenland ).
call for unity
Rendi-Wagner made a few announcements on Tuesday without explicitly mentioning Doskozil this time. Anyone who recommends that the SPÖ move a little to the right does not mean well with the party, she said at a conference of the SPÖ city faction, which took place in Frauenkirchen of all places (but without the local governor).
Rendi-Wagner called on the SPÖ to unite: “Together we cannot be beaten.” Vienna’s Mayor Ludwig combined a declaration of loyalty with an implicit demand: “I am pleased that the Viennese SPÖ is always heard in the federal SPÖ.” Man must do everything together to ensure that Rendi-Wagner becomes Chancellor after the next National Council election.