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.
According to COUNTRYAAH, 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 cardinal.
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 30-year war.
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.