TIROLER TAGESZEITUNG “Leading article” edition from Saturday, November 25, 2023, by Carmen Baumgartner-Pötz: “As you are to me, so I to you”

2023-11-24 23:01:05

Innsbruck, Vienna (OTS) An election year with two investigative committees promises a compressed political mudslinging. This is doing a disservice to parliamentarism, contrary to all pious protestations.

Andreas Hanger is at least honest about the ÖVP’s motives: The investigative committee proposed by his party – the working title “red-blue swamp” became just such an abuse of power – is the answer to that of the SPÖ and FPÖ, because one finally has to defend themselves against an anti-People’s Party campaign that has been running for years, he explained to journalists. Tit for tat. So in the last months of this legislative period things will be extremely Old Testament-brutal in Parliament.
Red-Blue, otherwise very anxious not to clash with each other, are taking on the “two-tier administration due to ÖVP government members favoring billionaires” and are continuing what they started in the Ibiza-U committee. Theoretically, there could even be a third parallel investigative committee! It shouldn’t be shouted about.
Experienced SPÖ parliamentary group leader Kai Jan Krainer promises that the U-Committee will be “as objective, calm and (f)act-oriented” and manages not to flinch in amusement. His FPÖ counterpart Christian Hafenecker is different: He consistently speaks of the ÖVP “Smurf” committee. That rhymes with swamp and as we know, Papa Smurf is dressed in red and blue… It’s a big rush that’s coming our way! Be that as it may, a committee of inquiry is an important instrument of parliamentary control, at least that’s the theory. In Austrian practice, it has been clear in the past that the rewards of democratic politics have to be fought for with hard tactics: mountains of files that are delivered too late or blacked out to the point of being unusable, including execution by the Federal President. Prominent witnesses who either don’t come at all or have serious gaps in their memory. The consequences of false statements – the duty to tell the truth applies in the U-Committee – can be far-reaching: Ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) and his former head of cabinet Bernhard Bonelli are currently on trial (they are presumed innocent).
If there’s one good thing to be said about the upcoming showdown in the House, it’s that it will be over relatively quickly. With an election date in autumn 2024 and in compliance with the deadlines, it is a matter of a few weeks (the parliamentary groups must first agree on dates) from April to June. Whether the knowledge gained will be helpful in voting decisions, and if so, for which party, is anyone’s guess.

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