As parties begin to prepare for the EU elections in May, the Austrian People’s Party (Österreichische Volkspartei, ÖVP) has presented their list of candidates.
Placed first on this internal ranking is Othmar Karas, who has been a member of the European Parliament for 20 years now. Karas has repeatedly criticized his own party’s policies, prompting speculations he may form his own movement rather than run for the People’s Party. Placed second is state secretary Karoline Edtstadler. Edtstadler is currently serving in the ministry of the interior where she is responsible for the criminal law reform the government has promised to implement.
The list also includes Wolfram Pirchner, a former presenter on Austrian state television, as well as Barbara Thaler, vice-president of the Austrian Economic Chamber (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKO).
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) has announced on Twitter that his party’s election campaign would emphasize preferential voting, and has encouraged voters to help elect their favorite candidate directly by casting a preference vote.
In Austria, voters will head to the polls on May 26th to elect their representatives in the European Parliament (EP). The EP is the only parliamentary institution of the European Union where citizens elect their delegates directly. However, voters cast their ballot for a national political party rather than a candidate. The parties then decide whom to send to Strasbourg based on candidates’ ranking within the party as well as their number of preference votes. Austria holds 19 seats in the European Parliament; these are allocated to the parties according to their number of votes.