SPÖ deputy chief shows reluctance for “grand coalition”

20 Jun 2023

Deputy chief of Stria’s Social Democratic Party (SPÖ), Julia Herr, has indicated her reluctance to govern in a grand coalition with the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP).

The principal reason she cited was her experience with corruption within the party following a parliamentary inquiry.

The SPÖ’s leadership shake-up resulted in Julia Herr rising to deputy chief of the party, and she stated that a possible grand coalition with the ÖVP is not her preferred option following the 2025 election.

“Of course, one cannot form a coalition with such a party,” she said to Presse am Sonntag.

According to recent polls, the SPÖ stood at over 20%, a decline from 30% before the leadership struggle within the party, Euractiv reports. Whereas the ÖVP currently polls around 25%, thereby making the government arrangement that was in place into the mid-2010s a technical possibility.

However, Julia Herr is unconvinced of such an option. The SPÖ deputy chief went on to say she’d spent “months” in the parliamentary inquiry into possible crimes that took place during the previous ÖVP government and witnessed the party’s “corruption” first-hand.

Since the end of the 2010s, there had been very little change, the SPÖ deputy chief stated. “The corruption merry-go-round continues to spin,” she commented.

As it stands, the SPÖ still favours a German-style “traffic light” system, made up of liberals, centre-left and the Greens, the Euractiv report adds.

In the meantime, the party has shown its readiness to cooperate on key climate and energy laws, such as the Austrian boiler ban from last year, which needs a majority of two-thirds due to the country’s constitution.