Initiators sharply criticize corona and asylum policies and call for new elections to be held quickly
Vienna (PK) – In the Constitutional Committee of the National Council, a referendum signed by 172,712 Austrians (1661 dB) was discussed today, the aim of which is early new elections. According to the text of the application, a dissolution resolution by the National Council should pave the way for the immediate dismissal of the federal government and the appointment of a government of experts. However, the majority of the committee did not want to come close to the demand, only the FPÖ was largely unreservedly behind the initiative. SPÖ and NEOS also called for new elections, but were in some cases very irritated by the statements made by the initiators of the referendum.
The reason for the demand for quick new elections is the “incompetence and irresponsibility of the federal government”, which the signatories believe is obvious, with the measures to combat the corona pandemic being the focus of criticism. These were disproportionate, not evidence-based and partly unconstitutional, among other things. In addition, the signatories accuse the government of dividing society and oppressing critics. “Depressive states and states of anxiety” in children have also increased as a result of the Corona measures and the domestic economy has been weakened by the Corona policy.
The criticism of the government was reinforced today by the initiators Elias Mühlbauer, Martin Kaser and Michael Dragomir. Originally, they only wanted to make a referendum on Corona, but then it turned out that the government’s incompetence was greater than expected, said Mühlbauer. In his view, the call for new elections is more important than ever, especially since the coalition has “less than a third” of the population behind it, according to recent polls.
Where are the 100,000 dead that ex-Chancellor Kurz spoke of? Kaser added and accused the government of massive discrimination against unvaccinated people. Even children were forced in schools to “handle with toxic substances”. The vaccination had “no effect”. In any case, a “hypocritical apology” from the government was not enough, Kaser said. A “complete reappraisal” also includes holding the responsible politicians accountable. In addition, he wanted to be reimbursed for any fines he had paid. Not only were 47 administrative penal proceedings brought against him, but his name was also “pulled in the dirt,” according to the proponent.
Kaser noted that the government had failed not only with the COVID measures, but also with the asylum policy. Austria “imports” people at such a speed that it is only a matter of time before its children belong to a minority. In addition, no one has the right to question Austria’s neutrality, he warned. He also questioned the objectivity of the Constitutional Court.
Michael Dragomir identified “symptoms of communism” in the government’s corona policy. Among other things, they “tried by all means to break into the houses of the population”. In his opinion, not only the corona management has failed, but also the asylum policy, economic policy and energy policy. In a democracy there is no compulsion, according to Dragomir, in a democracy “the people are the boss” and politicians have to implement what the population wants.
SPÖ and NEOS for respecting the rule of law
Not only the governing parties, but also the SPÖ and NEOS were irritated by the statements. The SPÖ has already made several attempts at new elections, said Selma Yildirim. The government no longer has a majority, and every day that is delayed is “a lost day”. Despite all the criticism, it should be noted that Austria is a functioning constitutional state. The Constitutional Court checked everything carefully. Yildirim also doesn’t agree with a mixture of corona and asylum policy: In her opinion, the goal of committed young people should be an active peace policy and fair trade agreements. People often have to leave “their beloved homeland” involuntarily.
NEOS MP Nikolaus Scherak pointed out that his party had also criticized much of what the initiators of the referendum also see critically. Some of the corona measures were “massively disproportionate”. The way in which children and young people were treated was irresponsible. Scherak also considers an apology necessary for some things that were said during the corona pandemic.
However, he does not believe that the government is actively planning a “population exchange,” said Scherak. Nor is he anti-scientific. Even if the vaccination did not bring what “we hoped for”, it did bring something. Sherak also defended representative democracy. Even if all three opposition parties are of the opinion that new elections would be appropriate, one must accept it if the government still has a majority in parliament.
ÖVP: Freedom is not restricted
On behalf of the ÖVP, Rudolf Taschner reminded that at the beginning of the pandemic nobody knew what dangers awaited them. It was an “unclear fog”. FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl saw it that way at the time. In retrospect, things could look different, said his parliamentary colleague Wolfgang Gerstl.
In any case, a democracy is characterized by the fact that everyone can express their opinion, said Gerstl. Anyone in Austria can also set up a party. Freedom of the press is not restricted. But the freedom of the individual ends where the freedom of others is endangered. Incidentally, anyone who demands respectful cooperation must also show respect to others.
Greens: Corona measures were evidence-based
Georg Bürstmayr (Greens) stated that it was incorrect that the Corona policy was not evidence-based. The COVID-19 measures have also been subjected to multiple reviews and have been confirmed by the Constitutional Court with few exceptions.
Bürstmayr also asserted that the government still enjoys the trust of the majority of MPs. And they were elected for five years. That is what the constitution provides. 4.8 million people voted, which is significantly more than signed the present referendum. Regarding the statement that the people would determine where to go, Bürstmayr said “You alone are not the people”.
FPÖ: concerns of the referendum are “completely correct”
On the other hand, FPÖ MP Harald Stefan judged the concerns of the referendum to be “completely correct” and expressly thanked them for the initiative. One should “not turn up one’s nose” because one does not like the tone, he said, referring to the other parties. What happened in the Corona period is now waiting to be dealt with – far-reaching damage was caused with “totalitarian thinking”. Lockdowns were imposed that weren’t really necessary, people were called on to “spy on each other” and people were told how many people they could celebrate Christmas or Easter with. Christian Lausch added that the FPÖ was the only party that voted against compulsory vaccination.
The referendum will now be dealt with once again in the plenary session of the National Council.
Referendum to abolish the GIS fee
The constitutional committee only formally accepted and adjourned deliberations on another referendum (1795 dB) aimed at abolishing ORF fees. The 364,346 signatories can only imagine a strictly earmarked fee to finance the Ö1 radio program.
The demand is justified, among other things, with the program quality of the ORF and party political influence in filling management positions and the foundation board. For example, initiator Dominik Schmied and his colleagues doubt that the ORF is fulfilling its public educational mandate. Reference is also made to the abolition of important sports broadcasts.
In the last legislative period, the National Council dealt with the demand for the abolition of GIS fees on the basis of a referendum. A hearing was also held – including with the then ORF Director General Alexander Wrabetz. (Conclusion of the Constitutional Committee) gs
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