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The Most Important Beer Party

In September, Austrians will take to the ballot box to determine the direction of the nation. Currently, the Right-Wing Populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) is set to take a plurality of the vote with 27 percent of the vote, making them the largest party in Austria for the first time.

This is a major step forward for the FPO, after the Ibiza Affair, which saw the leaders of the FPO coordinating with the niece of a Russian oligarch to purchase an Austrian tabloid. The FPO leaders promised public contracts in exchange for campaign support. The affair resulted in the collapse of the FPO and the Austrian People’s Party (OVP) coalition government.

However, the FPO is not projected a majority and will need to form a coalition government with two other parties to achieve the 50+1 needed to form a majority government.

Aligning themselves with their former government partner in the OVP will set them at 47% in need of one more party. There is another possible coalition, the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPO) would finish second with 23% of the vote. If they are able to work with Grune and NEOS, the three-party coalition will sit at 43% of the vote, it will create a kingmaking moment for one small party in Austria, the Beer Party.

The Beer Party

The Beer Party, initially a satirical party, was started by Punk Rock singer Dominik Wlazny, also known as Marco Pogo, to promote a new song in 2014. Wlazny, a medical doctor, promised a beer fountain in the middle of Vienna, a Universal monthly provision of a barrel of beer to all Austrian households (50L per adult and 20L per child) and a Mandatory aptitude test for politicians.

The first election for the Beer Party happened in the 2019 statewide legislative election, resulting in a mere 4,946 votes, with the most votes coming from Vienna, receiving 0.6% of the total votes. 2020 Viennesse elections would be successful for the Beer Party, getting 13,951 votes or 1.6% of the vote in the city.

The 2022 Presidential election would become the most successful election for the Beer Party. Wlazny won 337,010 votes, a total of 8.31%, placing third overall. He was the second-most popular candidate in Vienna with 10.7%, behind re-elected incumbent Alexander Van der Bellen.

Wlazny began taking the party more seriously in early 2024, abandoning his Punk Rock persona of Marco Pogo, citing the positions of the Beer Party wanting equal opportunities, equal rights, health and education for all Austrians.

There is a chance that the Beer Party loses steam before the election. They might even gain prominence as the election gets closer, making them more than just a satirical party.