Scandals May Hurt SPÖ Most

The political climate has been disturbed for several months by a series of corruption scandals involving high-ranking members of both the SPÖ and the ÖVP, which form the current government, as well as the two right-leaning opposition parties, the FPÖ and the BZÖ. With most of the main parties tainted by allegations of corruption, the scandals are not likely to have much of an effect on the relative balance of popular support among the SPÖ, the ÖVP, and FPÖ.

However, as one of the targets of investigation, Chancellor Werner Faymann will find it difficult to boost the SPÖ’s standing ahead of an election required by September 2013. If the SPÖ fails to put a little distance between itself and its rivals over the next 18 months, Faymann’s party is likely to be pushed into opposition following the next elections.

Neither of the government parties will benefit politically from the performance of the economy, which is forecast to contract slightly in 2012, but is at risk of a deeper downturn in the event of setbacks in efforts to resolve the euro-zone debt crisis.
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