SPÖ and NEOS support Federal President Alexander van der Bellen, the Greens and so on, the ÖVP does not nominate anyone. The FPÖ is different: you definitely want to send an applicant into the race. So far, it has not been revealed who it is. It will not be the third President of the National Council, Norbert Hofer, who narrowly lost to Van der Bellen in 2016. He doesn’t want to try again until 2028.
Among others, FPÖ member of parliament Susanne Fürst or even FPÖ boss Herbert Kickl himself are in the conversation. Just minutes after VdB announced his candidacy, he attacked the current president head-on: “With Alexander Van der Bellen, the candidate of the failed system is running again for the federal presidential election. Logically, all those parties that contributed to the failure will gather behind him”.
And: “Van der Bellen stands for the division of society through a completely evidence-free and malicious corona policy. He stands for the inaction in the face of the social crisis caused by this fatal policy through an unprecedented avalanche of costs. VdB fully supports all of this and “therefore also has a considerable part of the responsibility for the state in which our homeland Austria is currently”.
Meanwhile, independent candidates are already positioning themselves. Austrians who celebrate their 35th birthday at the latest on the (not yet fixed) election day are eligible. In order to be on the ballot, they have to collect 6,000 declarations of support and then submit a nomination (including a contribution to costs of 3,600 euros) to the federal elections authorities between the deadline and the 37th day before the election.
In the 13 direct elections so far, 36 Austrians have managed it – eight of them twice, including Heide Schmidt – first in 1992 for the FPÖ, then in 1998 for the LIF – later master builder Richard Lugner: 1998 and then again in 2016.
But many failed because of the 6,000 signatures. Nevertheless, a number of non-party members are trying again this year: Robert Marschall and Martin Wabl, who previously failed at the 6000 hurdle, are there again. Dominik Wlazny (better known as Marco Pogo and since the Vienna election also as the head of the beer party) is still considering. Konstantin Haslauer, Rudolf Remigius Kleinschnitz, Thomas Schaurecker, Johann Peter Schutte and Hubert Thurnhofer are already actively campaigning for support on the Internet – some with specially created election websites.
Anyone who clears the first hurdle with 6,000 signatures must then get more than 50 percent of the votes to become Federal President, whether in the first ballot or in the runoff four weeks later at the latest.