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2004-03-22

Electing the Austrian President (Bundespräsident) 

The candidates for the election on 25 April 2004 are: Heinz Fischer, a senior social-democrat and president of parliament, and Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the conservative foreign minister.

Other would-be candidates, who will most likely fail to pass the conditions to run in the election (600 individual support signatures made at the council office) include Martin Wabl, Wolfgang Pöltl, Franz Josef Plank, Irene Schober, and, offline, Anna Gaia-Herzog, and Harald Lambacher. As far as I can see from the webpages, Martin Wabl seems to offer a coherent political agenda, with Wolfgang Pöltl and Franz Josef Plank as part time-authentic runners up.

Since I am not running this year (candidates must be at least 35 years old, a condition which I'll fulfill at the next election in 2010), the choice is a tough one :-). The Austrian president is not very powerful in the de-facto political system, where real power rests with the government and the chancellor (Bundeskanzler), but the president can play on his or her significant symbolic influence and publicity. I believe that the role could be used to some good purposes.


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