Dear Professor Wolff, first of all: THANKS³ for putting into words, what’s roaring in my head! I discovered „Economic Update“ only a few weeks ago on our local free radio station. Since then it’s my favorite radio-hour of the week. I’m 63 now and I’m desparately missing such devotedness in the neck of our woods. I really do know that you can’t read all of the mails reaching you, and I’m not waiting for any answer, but believe me: It’s kind of a big relief to talk something away! So it‘s an urgent necessity to tell a litte story about what’s happening in my home country, little Austria (wich used to be BIG not so far in the past). Inspiration for my writing came from this week‘s program, dealing with Franco’s Spain. Motto: „Where have all the flowers gone? When will they ever learn?“. So let’s go: We had presidential elections in Austria some time ago, and in a run-off the Green (sic!!!!!) candidate won by a head (only some 30.000 votes plus). Runner-up was the candidate of the very right-wing „Freedom Party“ (as it always is translated in international reports. I’m always asking: Whose freedom do these guys represent?) FPÖ. But: Will the Green really be President? To put it clearly: Our „President“ is more or less a person who only has to represent. He‘s not aproximately got the „power“ of the US-President is said to have (Has he?). But he is the one who plays an important role in swearing in a newly elected government. And the „green“ candidate Mr Van der Bellen was the only one who stated clearly - before the election - not to swear in someone as next chancellor (the person, whose „potency“ most likely might be compared with the US-President‘s in terms of decision-making power), whose attitude and mindset wasn’t fully PRO the European Union. Just a few words only about Austria’s political system before I continue: We had a mainly Two-Party-System since the end of Word War II: The first time always winning „moderate“ right-wing „People’s Party“ (Austria had – not out of all reason - terrible fear from everything coming from „left“. By the way: They still have….. No more so out of reason, so why?) and the „Socialist-Party“. „Right“ (false??) supremacy lasted till 1970, when - finally – Socialist Bruno Kreisky, became OUR chancellor. The third (at first little) „force“ was the above mentioned FPÖ (following up the Nazi-contaminated VDU), where all the right-wing nationalists gathered. Call it „safe haven“ for many Austrian Nazis. They could develop, because Austria always stated to have been Hitler‘s first victims (Brief remark in this case: See all the raised right hands in Vienna, when Hitler claimed Austria’s connection in 1938!). And now? It’s very hot water! If elections were hold today, the FPÖ would become the strongest party. It’s pathetic and it feels like crying, but ONE THIRD of Austria’s population has learned not the tiniest bit from history. Let me return to our presidential election. First round of voting ended in the (for many surprising) out of the candidates of the Popular Party, the Socialist Party, and of 3 other contenders. „Winner“ was the FPÖ-candidate, second came the candidate of the Green Party. As told, a run-off had to decide. And believe it or not: Mr Green won!!! Wow!!! But: A Green CANNOT be Austria’s President. A No-Go! The voting was contradicted by the FPÖ because of some (minimal) „inconsistencies“ within the scope of our postal voting (proceedings, which were custom practice over many, many years). Quintessence: Austrian Constitutional Court decided to let the run-off-vote be repeated. The same Constitutional Court, which often was brought into ridicule over the past years by……. you guess: the FPÖ, which always stated the office „Bundespräsident“ (as we call him) to be obsolete nowadays. Bizarrely only as long as they got the chance to „get“ it themselves. Oportunists? Populists? Demagogues? So we will have to vote again in October, and all the prognostic symptoms point to a win of…… You guess again! Finally I soon - at 63 - will be able to buy me a gun to protect my life against those criminal people having fled from countries, which fight in wars with all the kinds of weapons WE have sent to them. So that’s the one objection – I really don’t know if right or wrong – to your last program: I think, it always is a very big deal to send weapons to whom and where ever. Was it really Roosevelt’s (or would it be anybody’s in the future) fault not to support Franco’s opponents? Thank you VERY much again for your being AND STAYING on air! Yours hopefully full of hope! Reinhard Sommer Austria Short PS, I read today: „Literature cannot change the world. The anxiety-administrators don’t read books“ (Andrzej Stasiuk). I’m afraid, they aren’t able to listen too!
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