Anyone thinking Austria will get a new government before the Christmas-New Year break better think again. Politicians said what people could be sure of is that Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel’s conservative People’s Party would be a senior partner in any coalition that is developed.
The People’s Party clinched the elections last month with 42.3 percent of the vote. Mr. Waltraud Klasnic, the governor of Styria Province, said talks on the formation of the coalition should not be hurried. “The government won’t be set up this year, but at the beginning of next,” Mr. Klasnic said on television. According to dpa reports, the People’s Party believed it had to focus on other things, primarily the Copenhagen summit on December 12-13. The other three parties in parliament, Social Democrats, Greens or Freedom Party, called on Schuessel’s party to choose in order to finalise the new government.
Klasnic said the People’s Party has held talks with all three parties, but nothing has been written in stone yet. Ms. Madeleine Petrovic, the deputy leader of the Greens, noted that she doesn’t believe a new government would be set up before 2003. The Greens underlined that if Mr. Schuessel chose to form a coalition with them, he should not consider working with the Freedom Party again. “Parallel negotiations were unthinkable,” Ms. Petrovic said. (727)