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Vassilakou ensnares Pirates

Vienna Greens Vice Mayor Maria Vassilakou has appealed on the Austrian Pirate Party (PPÖ) to consider a partnership.

Speaking to the Kurier, Vassilakou said her party "will approach those who fight for data protection and a democratic net". She warned that the Austrian Greens would not cooperate with right-wing extremists. Vassilakou referred to developments in the Germany where the counterpart of the PPÖ struggles to get rid of members with a right-wing ideology.

The PPÖ celebrated a remarkable success in last month’s Innsbruck city hall election. The local branch of the new political movement managed to garner almost four per cent. This means that one of the delegates of the 40-member city parliament will be assigned by the PPÖ. The party held its first national summit a few weeks ago – and postponed crucial decisions until summer as the gathering in Vienna was a rather chaotic affair.

Sophie Karmasin of research group Karmasin told the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper that the PPÖ and similar new groups which focused on internet campaigning "do not even have to be better (than the established parties in elections at the moment). They only must be different."

Austrian Greens chairwoman Eva Glawischnig said her party was in touch with some PPÖ members already while Freda Meissner-Blau, an iconic founding member of the party which is headed by Glawischnig since 2008, told political magazine profil the PPÖ and Austria’s other online-based parties might be better off by remaining parts of the extra-parliamentary opposition.

Vassilakou also took the opportunity to attack the Viennese departments of the People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Freedom Party (FPÖ). The vice mayor of the capital told the Kurier that the conservative ÖVP and the rightist FPÖ "are developing into an Austrian Tea Party movement. They are against everything."

The ÖVP of Manfred Juraczka and the FPÖ – the only party which managed to do better in the city hall vote of 2010 than in 2005 – have been criticising the Viennese government coalition of SPÖ and Greens ever since the parties partnered up. The SPÖ-Greens administration makes aware on a regular basis of Vienna’s victories in global living quality investigations and the city’s extensive social network consisting of free of charge kindergartens and various public service offices. The coalition also underlines that using public transport will soon get cheaper for everyone opting for annual passes.

The ÖVP Vienna and Johann Gudenus’ Viennese FPÖ department emphasise that the city’s debts are increasing. While the ÖVP deplores the lack of an economic concept of the city hall coalition, the FPÖ highlights an alleged rise in crime and lenient immigration policies. New initiatives for cyclists and plans to create a charter for better coexistence of citizens are other hotly disputed issues the Viennese Social Democrats and its junior coalition partner are forced to justify.

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