Four coalition in Innsbruck burst

The Innsbruck four-party coalition of the Greens, ÖVP, Für Innsbruck (FI) and SPÖ was ended on Thursday evening by Green Mayor Georg Willi for and the “free play of forces” announced by him was proclaimed. Previously, a vote against FPÖ Deputy Mayor Markus Lassenberger, submitted by the Greens, was not put to the vote because everyone except the Greens and two SPÖ mandataries left the room.

Lassenberger will continue to be the first deputy of the green mayor Willi. This ended the coalition, explained Willi. Now the free play of forces in the council begins, he doesn’t know how long this could last. If everyone is willing to work together constructively to implement large projects, it could work. If not, you have to go to the polls. Time will tell. The city government naturally remains in office. Afterwards, Willi optimistically described the free play of forces that has now become free to journalists as a “mode of work that brings more tension and new freedoms”; he no longer thinks that much of coalition agreements. He was convinced that the other parties also wanted to continue working in a motivated manner.

28 out of 40 mandataries had left the room during the debate. Willi called this a “poor certificate”. “Politicians are chosen to decide: yes or no,” he said. Those politicians who left the room “are not doing this simple task,” he criticized.

He justified his rejection of Lassenberger with, among other things, the “image of man” of the FPÖ and the liberal vice mayor. He again accused his coalition colleagues of wanting to end the coalition with the election of Lassenberger at the end of January. In his opinion, the ÖVP and FI want to get rid of him as head of the city: “Then just put the mayor out of office,” he said to the former coalition partners.

Coalition and opposition parties had previously criticized the party-ideological motivation of the Greens’ motion in the debate and thus justified their abstention. The ÖVP, which was the first party to demonstratively move out of the plenary hall, had hoped that Willi would withdraw the motion. Club chairman Christoph Appler once again criticized the communication style of the Greens: “Ultimatas and pure communication via the press are the wrong way,” he rumbled.

FI club chairman Lukas Krackl said that there was a lack of “leadership and solidarity”. Nevertheless, he was of the opinion: “It’s not too late”. “Get away from your strategists in the back rooms, there is so much poison in there,” he said in the direction of the green faction. “Can’t you work together on an equal footing?” He asked.

The SPÖ, however, was divided. While club chairman Helmut Buchacher and councilor Irene Heisz also boycotted the vote and left the room, city party chairman Benjamin Plach and councilor Elisabeth Mayr wanted to vote against Lassenberger. For Buchacher, who had previously spoken out in favor of leaving the coalition, the Greens’ motion testified to an “anti-democratic position on the part of the supporters”. For him, the FPÖ’s motion to vote against FI Vice Mayor Oppitz-Plörer over a year ago, which the Greens had supported, was the “summit of hypocrisy”. “You were not ashamed of making yourself useful to the FPÖ” – this was “hypocritical and disgusting”. “I don’t need your moral appeals,” he stated to himself. Plach, on the other hand, did not see a “democratic fall from grace” in the Lassenberger vote. “A democratic majority made him possible, so he can also vote him out,” he said. He also had a firm opinion about his coalition partners. In the direction of the Greens he said: “You just can’t do it”, in turn to the ÖVP and FI: “You just don’t want it”.

For FPÖ city party leader Rudi Federspiel it was clear who was to blame for the misery: “You are the demolition master,” he said to Willi. “How many people are there?” He asked in the room, which was still half full at the time. Club chairwoman Andrea Dengg also questioned Willi’s understanding of democracy: “You are trying to impose your ideology on democracy – a dangerous body of thought,” she judged.

Although the FPÖ had “lost nothing” for NEOS councilor Julia Seidl in the government, their parliamentary group did not want to vote either. The other small parties Gerechtes Innsbruck, List Fritz and ALI did the same.

The now-out coalition and deputy mayor motion to vote out was preceded by two more. In October 2019, ex-mayor Christine Oppitz-Plörer (FI) was voted out of office as deputy mayor due to additional costs related to the construction of the Patscherkofelbahn due to an FPÖ application with the support of the Greens. A year later, in December 2020, Uschi Schwarzl (Greens) was dumped as the first deputy mayor. Lassenberger was then elected with the votes of the coalition partners ÖVP and FI in a secret ballot, although Elisabeth Mayr (SPÖ) was a candidate for the coalition.

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