Austria. President Heinz Fischer was re-elected in April
for another six years on the mainly ceremonial post of head
of state. Fischer, who was the candidate of the Social
Democrats, won by a very wide margin; he got about 79
percent of the vote. Distant second was the right-wing
populist FPÖ's disputed candidate Barbara Rosenkranz, who
gained 15 percent. Rosenkranz, a 51-year-old ten-year-old
mother, is married to a man who has belonged to a banned
right-wing extremist party and is alleged to have Nazi
sympathies himself. Her political message was described as
hostile to immigrants, Islam and feminism.
In all three state elections held during the year, the
Social Democratic SPÖ, which leads the country's coalition
government, which also includes the conservative OVP,
backed. ÖVP also lost some, while FPÖ increased. In
Burgenland and Styria, FPÖ received around 10 percent of the
vote, and in Vienna, the xenophobic party received a full 27
percent. The SPÖ, which ruled "red Vienna" for decades but
now lost its majority, chose to form the country's first
red-green government at the state level.
Austria has a population of 8.859 million (2019). Police announced in June that a record seizure of over a
million child pornographic images was made in a
53-year-old's home. The man, who was arrested, was also
suspected of assaulting his stepchildren. The seizure was
described as one of the largest in Europe.
Six Indian men were sentenced in September to prison for
an assault in a Sikh temple in Vienna the year before. One
was sentenced to life imprisonment and several others to
long imprisonment for the murder of a visiting preacher and
attempted murder of several other temple visitors. The
attack, which was due to a religious dispute, triggered
violent protests in the Indian state of Punjab.
Maximillian the 2nd followed Ferdinand the 1st as Emperor
of Bohemia, of part of Hungary and of the Austrian Danube.
The heir to the throne had Protestant inclinations, though
he had promised his father to abide by the Catholic
precepts. The counter-reform began with the Jesuits, who
were particularly strong in Vienna, Graz and Innsbruck.
Maximillian's successor, Rudolf II, who was educated in
Spain, under strict Catholic discipline, banished the
Protestants from his court, and placed the responsibility
for the conversion that took place in the cities and in the
marketplaces, in the hands of the religious administrator in
Vienna, Melchior Klesl, who later became bishop and
The conflicts between Protestants and Catholics continued
with ups and downs for the Habsburgs until the death of
Emperor Matias in 1619. He was followed by Ferdinand 2, who
was far less compromised by the Counter-Reformation. Bohemia
and Moravia revolted and war was inevitable.
The conflict had consequences, even outside the borders
of the empire. Spain, Bavaria and Saxony joined Ferdinand on
the 2nd; Bohemia was forced into submission while
Protestants embarked on a mass flight to Germany, which was
then invaded. The Protestant reaction, first and foremost
from Sweden, came in 1630, and became the beginning of the
From the 17th to the 19th century, the Habsburgs were
involved in all conflicts in Europe. The Napoleonic wars in
fact dissolved the Austrian Empire. It was only after
Napoleon's abdication, which took place in 1814, that the
Austrians recaptured most of their territory.
In 1815, Austrian Chancellor Clemens Metternich was the
architect of the formation of the Holy Alliance between the
European great powers, building on Christianity and foreign
intervention against the liberal and revolutionary movements
of the time.
The aftermath of the revolutions elsewhere in Europe also
reached Austria in 1848. The uprising broke out in Vienna,
occupied by a crowd demanding regime liberalization. The
resignation of Metternich did not contribute to spilling oil
on the waters - it, on the other hand, became the beginning
of revolution throughout the empire.
Despite their active participation and presence in the
streets of Vienna, the workers had no major influence in
today's society - due to the country's poor industrial
development. The most important social consequence of the
revolution was the release of the peasants who had been
arrested in 1849 during the empire.
The Hungarian government now proclaimed the country to be
independent, and in Germany a national council, based in
Frankfurt, was formed with the participation of liberal and
conservative German-Austrians interested in secession from
the Habsburg Empire.
The emperor predominantly accepted the demands of
Budapest; the exceptions were the two points concerning the
military and the right to organize the country's economy.
The Hungarian Parliament decided to abolish the Habsburgs'
monopoly of power and declared the country a republic in
April 1849, but the revolution was crushed 4 months later.
The counter-revolution dissolved the Frankfurt Council,
but the conflict between Austria and Prussia worsened. From
that point on, the Habsburgs began to weaken; the lost and
ceded more areas until the final solution took place in
1918, after the defeat in the first World War.