State elections

ÖVP relies on the slogan “Vorarlberg leads the way”

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10.07.2024 15:35

The Vorarlberg VP has presented its 73-page election program for the autumn elections. There are no surprises in terms of content: a business-friendly location policy is the top priority, and clear rules are set for migration. 

Markus Wallner (57) has already fought several political battles; he has been head of government since 2011 and has therefore been in office longer than any of his colleagues in the other federal states. The state elections in the fall are his third as top candidate. So "business as usual"? There can be no question of that, says Wallner, especially as the world has changed massively in recent years: "We are facing a turning point. The state of Vorarlberg must also prepare itself for situations that we are perhaps not yet very familiar with." This is the words of a governor who has had to manage crises in recent years that were unforeseeable in this form.

In terms of content, however, the surprises in the election program are limited. The top priority is location policy. "It is essential for Vorarlberg to retain the manufacturing industry. To achieve this, we need to train as many skilled workers as possible." In essence, it is about remaining an "economically strong region with a human face", Wallner quoted his predecessor Herbert Sausgruber in this context.

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As a middle-class party, we are clearly opposed to radical tendencies from the left and right. We want to pursue a sensible, balanced policy and work for Vorarlberg in a targeted, objective and common-sense manner.

(Bild: Mathis Fotografie)

Markus Wallner, ÖVP-Spitzenkandidat für die Landtagswahlen im Herbst

Illwerke as a guarantor of independence
The energy issue is directly linked to competitiveness. In this respect, Wallner believes that Vorarlberg is in an excellent position thanks to the state-owned Illwerke-VKW: The company will invest nine billion euros by 2040 and is a guarantee that Vorarlberg will remain independent in terms of critical infrastructure. Despite this massive offensive, the goal is to be able to offer the lowest electricity price in Austria in the future as well.

The topic of "migration" occupies a prominent place in the election program. "There must be no borderless immigration, and we also need clear rules on asylum," emphasizes the state leader. The "Vorarlberg Code" is an appropriate instrument for this. In recent times, the migration debate has increasingly become a security debate - also in Vorarlberg. In this context, Wallner points out that, thanks to various incentives, it has been possible to get more young people interested in police work again: "At the moment, the personnel situation looks good."

The ten central points of the ÖVP Vorarlberg election program. (Bild: ÖVP Vorarlberg)
The ten central points of the ÖVP Vorarlberg election program.

The situation in the health and care sector is far less positive. Wallner is confident that a hospital package is being worked out and that a solution will be found to the dispute over doctors' salaries that both sides can live with. Finally, there remains a problem that is being discussed very emotionally in Vorarlberg and which many people blame on the ÖVP: the lack of affordable housing. The state governor had already declared the issue a top priority last fall, so he is also trying to highlight the progress made: With the creation of a land fund and concepts such as "Wohnen 550", the right course has already been set, now the reforms need to be implemented. "We also have the most attractive housing subsidy in Austria - that doesn't solve all the problems, but it is a contribution."

Saving in order to be able to make investments
The question arises as to how all these projects are to be financed. It won't be possible without budgetary discipline, says Wallner, who also advocates degressive models for various social benefits. However, the expansion of childcare is to be expressly excluded from the austerity measures: "We will stick to our goal of making Vorarlberg the most promising place to live for children and young people." Of course, the regional boss also knows that what is written in a party's election manifesto does not necessarily have to be reflected in a coalition paper. However, if the voters give them a mandate to do so, they will try to incorporate as many points as possible into the next government. Seen in this light, the ÖVP's election program can also be read as an invitation to the Freedom Party

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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