Sunday’s regional election in Austria’s southernmost state of Carinthia saw the left-liberal Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) maintain its control over the region’s legislative assembly, despite having lost a considerable amount of its support.
When the votes were tallied Sunday evening, March 6th, the SPÖ had secured 38.9% of the vote, down 9 percentage points from the previous election in 2018, while the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) came a distant second with 24.6%, having increased its share of the vote by 1.6% from the region’s last election.
The center-right establishment ÖVP came in third with 17.1%, increasing their share of the vote by 1.5%. Meanwhile, the liberal regionalist party Team Carinthia, which is only active at the state level, came in fourth place, garnering just over 10%.
Therefore, the SPÖ retained control of 15 seats, while the FPÖ, ÖVP, and TC hold nine, seven, and five seats in the Carinthia Landtag, respectively.
For the FPÖ, despite having come in second place, the election result represents a rather disappointing showing in light of the fact the region once—in the not-so-distant past—served as the party’s most reliable stronghold. Under the leadership of Jörg Haider, the FPÖ managed to secure over 40% of the vote in the southern region, which borders Italy and Slovenia.
The election’s results mean that a coalition between the SPÖ and the ÖVP could continue to rule.
The FPÖ enjoyed success in regional elections in Lower Austria at the beginning of this year when it increased its share of the vote by nearly 10 percentage points and climbed to 24.2% of the vote, making it the second most popular party in the state.
Months earlier, in the Tyrol regional election last September, the FPÖ also increased its share of the vote making it the second-largest party in the state.
Per the latest national opinion surveys, the FPÖ over the past several months has consistently occupied the top spot, polling two to four points ahead of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ).