Rendi-Wagner’s party reform will also need the basis. There is a member survey – which the party leader also wants to make a survey about her person.
The SPÖ chairwoman, Pamela Rendi-Wagner, will also ask in the forthcoming membership survey whether she should remain party leader. This was announced by Rendi-Wagner on Friday after a meeting of the party presidium.
In the – anonymously running – member survey, which one would like to carry out “in the next few weeks”, she would also “ask the comrades a question about me personally: whether I should remain chairman of the federal party”, said Rendi-Wagner in a press statement, “and further to fight with them ”. She asked the question very deliberately, “because it takes trust to be stronger in the political debate”. She had “carefully considered this question in the past few days”, it was not a decision of the Presidium.
“The higher the approval, the better for me”
Rendi-Wagner did not mention an approval rating at which she would resign or remain in office. “Majorities apply in democracy,” she said: “The higher the approval, the better for me.” But she would not commit herself to one value.
Shortly after their statement in the early Friday afternoon, Rendi-Wagner turned directly to the party members. It was time for the members for the first time in the history of the SPÖ to decide “who takes responsibility at the head of our movement”. Involving members and strengthening employee participation should not be given lip service, says Rendi-Wagner.
Further questions about political content
The SPÖ will determine the questions for a member survey on Friday. After the presidium meeting, the board meets, after which the remaining questions of the survey should be announced. The member survey is part of the party reform that Rendi-Wagner initiated in the autumn of last year. The SPÖ had historically performed poorly in the National Council election.
The other questions should not cause any major friction in the party: This should be about classic social democratic issues, such as tax-free wages of around 1,700 euros. The Presidium meeting, however, may not have survived the possibility of a future election of party leadership by the grassroots. Unless the board decides otherwise, the congress will continue to decide on the party leadership.
New attempt for party reform
For Rendi-Wagner this means to a certain extent: back to the start. When she took over the SPÖ leadership, she inherited a party reform from Christian Kern and Max Lercher – legitimized by a member survey, in which at least 37,000 comrades had participated at the time. When Kern resigned from the party presidency in October 2018, the reform was ready and should be approved at a party conference a month later.
>> Rendi-Wagner in the shadow of its predecessors [premium]
The result at the time was somewhat radical, an anti-pragmatism tool. The reform envisaged an opening of the SPÖ: For example, they wanted to introduce that the base be voted on coalition participation, and long-serving officials should also vote after a decade. But nothing came of it. Rendi-Wagner – together with her newly appointed federal manager, Thomas Drozda – weakened the reform without further ado. Well, a year and a half later, there is her own. This also with a member survey.
“On the border to idiocy”
Incidentally, the reform process had caused divided opinions in the party in 2018. While members of the more activist party – that is, the left wing – had contributed, others shook their heads at the opinions of their party friends. At that time, Klaus Luger, red mayor of Linz, spoke of proposals “on the border to idiocy”.
The current party leadership apparently wants to prevent this and ask the members about content-related issues. The reorganization of the party had already been completed by three quarters, said Rendi-Wagner in January. Ideas will continue to be developed in so-called “future laboratories”.