Support for the two main parties, which have between them run Austria since 1945, has been sliding for years and in the last general election in 2013 they only just garnered enough support to re-form their “grand coalition”.
Austria’s traditionally strong economy has also faltered of late and it no longer has the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union. Faymann’s coalition, in power since 2008, has struggled to agree structural reforms.
David Pfarrhofer from the Market polling institute said Sunday’s result showed that the traditional parties cannot continue “messing around” if they want to cling onto power.
“It’s not so much about personalities but about issues… Something needs to change if the SPOe and the OeVP want to avoid another debacle like this,” Pfarrhofer told AFP.