Table of contents:

7 questions for politics
7 questions for politics

Can we still trust politicians? How can corruption be prevented? And how is it going to be in the future? Political scientist Kathrin Stainer-Hämmerle has the most important answers - and demands on the system.

We need a change
We need a change

May 17, 2019: The publication of the Ibiza video put Austria in a state of political emergency and spelled the end of the turquoise-blue coalition. Kurz and his cabinet was denied confidence at the time and he was removed from office. It was the first motion of censure in the history of the Second Republic to be successful. Kurz became the chancellor with the shortest term in office.

After a transitional government, the ÖVP nominated Sebastian Kurz shortly afterwards as the top candidate for the National Council election. They reached a clear one Election victory with 37.5 percent of the vote. Together with the Greens they formed a coalition.

October 9, 2021: Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz resigns. Become daily new chat logs presents that burden him in terms of infidelity and corruption. He denies the allegations. It is the presumption of innocence. Many questions arise in the population. The seven most urgent answers Political scientist Kathrin Stainer-Hämmerle:

1. Can we politicians still believe?

Stainer-Hämmerle: "I would warn against generalizing. You have to differentiate. In individual cases, a lot of the unacceptable have come to light, regardless of the criminal allegations. It is clear, however, that not every politician is like that. You can also don't talk about THE media. It is much more important now to determine what can be done differently in the future in terms of transparency, where the gaps were and how they were used. But what you have to admit: We have known many of these gaps for years. The excess of election campaign costs, the denomination of donations, the debate surrounding the advertisements - all of this was known. The only thing missing was the willingness of all parties to force more transparency here. There was not enough reaction to it."

2. Is Austria a country that is more susceptible to corruption than average?

"No. Sarkozy has now served a prison sentence because he has spent almost double the maximum amount allowed for his presidential election campaign in 2012. Italy is also repeatedly confronted with corruption. But what makes Austria special: That it is such a small country. We know each other and the line between service of friendship and exertion of influence that is politically morally incorrect or even corrupt is often blurred.

The question is: who is responsible for this? Those who have the power to decide. In the case of the pollster - and I do not want to defend what she is doing - it turns out that how difficult it is to escape the economic pressure in this branch, if you want to survive. This also applies to the media. It is not so easy to say that you are giving up part of the two hundred million pie and not knowing how else to make the money. You have to discuss it honestly and find solutions for it."

3. What is needed for more transparency? And can corruption be prevented?

"It's about control, the protection of the judiciary, good conditions for the media to avoid further grievances. This requires a law on the financing of parties, more control options for the Court of Auditors over the spending of the parties, especially in election campaigns, a media promotion system, more political education and public debates. The rules of the game set standards and benchmarks. Enlightenment and information are required - which happens regardless of party affiliation. Why don't we have a big economic research institute that is really neutral instead of three or four that are party-affiliated?"

4. What can voters do?

"Don't let yourself be blinded by election promises that, if you take a closer look, cannot be fulfilled. Question: Are the items on the program really feasible? Right now we have more opportunities than ever to obtain information through social media must be aware: This abundance often leads to excessive demands. We ask ourselves: what is true? What wrong? We have to learn how to deal with this flood of information - in schools, but also especially with the older population, I keep experiencing that they are stressed by the overload because they are no longer able to question everything so quickly and classify it correctly."

Kathrin Stainer-Hämmerle
Kathrin Stainer-Hämmerle

5. How can one counteract the information chaos?

"It is the task of the media to educate people here. Your trust is currently as damaged as that of politics. It is all the more important now, to distance oneself clearly from dubious reporting, to pay even more attention to quality, to intensify the research and to prepare the content in such a way that not only the academic readership, but everyone understands it."

6. How should it go on?

"The government has communicated what they are now focusing on: budget, pandemic, maintenance and transparency packages. There is now an opportunity to save your reputation. New chats are published every day. It depends on: How is the process developing? Mine Forecast: The government will make it into the spring. Due to the pandemic, winter is a tricky phase. Then it will be seen whether they can bring further projects on track."

7. What are the consequences of all the international scandals for Austria?

"The Italians are probably least concerned about it because they know it from their own ranks. Other countries are stunned and disappointed. All over Europe, a lot of hope has been poured into the new conservatives. Kurz promised a right-wing program and n and he is disenchanted. That also damages other conservative parties in Europe."

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