Greta effect shakes up Austrian politics in signal for Europe

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October 9, 2019 - 10:30 AM

In August 2018, outside the Swedish parliament building, Greta Thunberg started a school strike for the climate. WIKIPEDIA.ORG

VIENNA — Two days after rallying 7 million protesters across the world by invoking the threat of climate change, Greta Thunberg got credit for motivating voters to redraw the political landscape in Austria.

After being frozen out of parliament just two years ago, the Alpine country’s Greens unexpectedly tripled their support in Sunday’s election to win 14% of the vote, according to preliminary projections. The result sets up the group as a viable coalition partner for Sebastian Kurz’s People’s Party and shows how environmental concerns are moving to the top of the political agenda in Europe.

“The thematic development really helped the Greens, I’m thinking here of Greta Thunberg and the climate protests,” said the Social Democrat’s Managing Director Thomas Drozda in an ORF television interview conceding defeat. “This is an area where the Greens have had credibility for the last 20 or 25 years.”

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