The 2006 parliamentary election in Austria brought a shock victory to the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and in the process ended six years of experimental Christian Democrat - radical right coalitions (2000 - 2005 ÖVP - FPÖ, then 2005 - 2006 ÖVP - BZÖ). This paper analyses the election result by surveying the second Schuumlssel cabinet, intra-party and electoral developments between 2002 and 2006 and the campaign. It is argued that the causes for the government's defeat lie in the performance of the second Schuumlssel cabinet, particularly the turmoil within the radical right, and the ÖVP's lacklustre campaign. The paper also assesses the impact of the 2000 Wende on the relationship between the parties, suggesting that the problematic progress of the 2006 coalition negotiations reflects the continuing influence of the Wende and its ambiguous legacy on the Austrian party system.
- parliamentary elections