First-ever Communist mayor elected in Austria — Analysis

The town council in Austria’s second-largest metropolis, Graz, has elected a brand new mayor. Communist Get together member Elke Kahr has change into the primary Communist chief of a significant metropolis within the nation.

The 60-year-old politician, who has been working within the municipal authorities for greater than 15 years and beforehand served as vice mayor of Graz, was elected as the brand new metropolis chief on Wednesday. A member of the Austrian Communist Get together (KPÖ, Kommunistische Partei Österreichs) for nearly 30 years, she received the election with 28 of 46 votes. Kahr succeeded the earlier long-standing mayor Siegfried Nagl of the center-right, liberal-conservative Individuals’s Get together.

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Who would have thought that the daughter of a locksmith, a Communist, would change into mayor,” she stated in her first speech following the vote.

Having acknowledged quite a few points to take care of within the metropolis, particularly through the Covid-19 pandemic, the brand new mayor highlighted a housing coverage, pledging to place a cease to profit-driven development in Ganz.

The Communists have additionally already fashioned a coalition with the Greens and the Social Democratic Get together (SPÖ), and one other precedent in European metropolis governance was made – two girls serving as mayor and deputy. Inexperienced chief Judith Schwentner was chosen as Graz’s vice mayor, with the brand new governing coalition saying they might help not solely social, but additionally environmental modifications, aiming to enhance dwelling requirements particularly for low-income teams. Offering a bicycle for each little one within the metropolis from the municipality is of their program.

Nevertheless, not everybody within the native authorities is pleased with the brand new Communist rule. A member of the right-wing Freedom Get together of Austria (FPÖ), Alexis Pascuttini, described the selection as “disagreeable,” having accused the Graz Communists of empty catchphrases of their program and refusing to take part in what he described as “left-wing nonsense.” Kahr herself has been uncovered to robust strain to justify her celebration, being repeatedly requested about her place on “the crimes of communist events around the globe since 1917,” in response to Austrian media.

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