Vote of no confidence: Pramberger must vacate mayor’s seat

Vote of no confidence: Pramberger must vacate mayor’s seat
Vote of no confidence: Pramberger must vacate mayor’s seat

Vera Pramberger could not convince the citizens.

In Kirchdorf an der Krems, a rare election took place today. Austria’s smallest district capital in terms of area was the scene of a referendum on whether Mayor Vera Pramberger (SP) should remain in office.

It has been clear for a few minutes that the SP politician must vacate the position of mayor. After the local council, the citizens also withdrew their trust in her today. Voter turnout in the municipality with around 5,000 residents was just under 49.21 percent.

More on the subject:Motion of no confidence against mayor: Kirchdorf case is a rarity

Kirchdorf: Motion of no confidence against mayor passed

When asked whether they would vote no confidence in Pramberger, 59.17 percent answered yes. The citizens thus agreed with the vote of the local council at the end of April, which was preceded by a motion of no confidence supported by the ÖVP, FPÖ and Greens. With 17 votes to 7 (Pramberger himself was not eligible to vote), the motion received a large majority. Accusations of poor communication style are in the air, as is criticism of ignoring existing laws – Pramberger firmly denies this.

The political climate was already tense, and Pramberge’s election victory in autumn 2021 was extremely close. She won the runoff election against Alexander Hauser (VP) with 966 votes to 963.

Deputy Mayor takes over

The procedure in the event of a motion of no confidence and the subsequent referendum is clearly regulated in the Upper Austrian municipal code. The first deputy mayor, Stipo Luketina (SP), must now take over the official duties, and the composition of the municipal council remains unchanged. The SPÖ and ÖVP each have eight seats, the FPÖ four, and the Greens five. After four and a half months at the latest, the citizens would be called back to the polls to elect a new mayor.

Pramberger is disappointed, Dilly is satisfied

“There is a simple formula that says that the voters are always right. I have to acknowledge that today, despite all the disappointment about the election result,” said Pramberger in an initial reaction. Not without noting that it was a cause for concern that less than 50 percent of the community’s residents voted. Pramberger also thanked all the people who had put their trust in her, “even if it was unfortunately not enough.”

VP parliamentary group leader Wolfgang Dilly also thanked the Kirchdorf residents – but for the “clear” decision. With the confirmation of the lack of confidence in Pramberger, the way is now clear for a new cooperation in city politics. “For the citizens of Kirchdorf, I now wish for a warm and objective policy in order to achieve the best possible outcome in difficult times. And I wish Ms. Pramberger all the best for her personal future,” said Dilly.

FP state party secretary and district chairman of Kirchdorf, Michael Gruber, and his party colleague, Kirchdorf city councilor Christoph Colak, commented on the result of the referendum with the words: “The vote of the Kirchdorf residents is clear: the citizens have also expressed their lack of confidence in the current mayor Pramberger. This clears the way for a new beginning and we are convinced that the Kirchdorf residents will elect a competent mayor in the autumn who will get the city back on track.”

Expression of “power games”

The voters’ decision was regrettable, but acceptable, was the first statement made by SP regional manager Florian Koppler shortly after the voting results were announced. Unfortunately, the political power play of the ÖVP, FPÖ and Greens against the elected mayor was not thwarted, Koppler thanked Pramberger for her courageous efforts.

Koppler called for a return to political cooperation, saying that the population did not want this kind of opposition. At the same time, he supported the proposal put forward by his party colleague, the third President of the State Parliament Peter Binder, to change the procedure in a case like Kirchdorf – Binder wants, as reported, that motions of no confidence against mayors should be accompanied by a new election of the local council if the population does not agree.

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