Austria: Peter Filzmaier – The oracle of Krems

Sunday, 22.09.2019
08:19 clock

It is best to put food first. Beuscherl for example, sour lung with bread dumplings. As soon as Peter Filzmaier has the plate of steaming offal before him, at noon in the Viennese coffeehouse Dommayer, his torrential fluency is throttled to a bearable level.


Filzmaier is the most famous political analyst in Austria – the man who performs on public television ORF, how even digestible political spectacle for an audience of millions can be dismantled bite-sized: the Ibiza affair surrounding the FPÖ politicians Heinz-Christian Strache and Johann Gudenus For example, the party donation affair of the ÖVP under former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz or, as he calls it, "moral declaration of bankruptcy and the indictment of poverty" of the Social Democratic SPÖ during their anti-short campaign in the 2017 election campaign.

As a "Filzmaiern" in the Austrian vocabulary, the art form is booked to dissect political events succinctly and wittily. The name giver, famous for firing his judgments with an expressionless bird of prey, explains his nationwide popularity, among other things, with the "above-average number of television discussions" in Austria.

  No less than 20 TV duels are to be completed before the National Council election on 29 September. A handpicked crowd of "balcony Muppets", as political consultants and -erklärer between Neusiedler See and Arlberg are called, are responsible for the evaluation. "The greater the supply of items, the higher the need for orientation," says Filzmaier. "It happens that our analyzes have more viewers than the previous discussion."

Strache, the "crazy pinball ball"


This is not least due to Filzmaier himself, the oracle of Krems – at the Danube University there, the 52-year-old native of Vienna lectures on democracy studies and political science. His brisk style delights a stately fanbase. If it becomes known that the ÖVP has sent party donations from the fund of the billionaire Heidi Goess-Horten, with each 49,000 euros always just below the notifiable limit calculated, comments dryly Filzmaier: "Just because a per mille level of 0.5 per thousand is allowed I do not have to make a target point run to .49 per thousand each time. "

  If it turns out that the resigned FPÖ boss Strache wants to continue to meddle, speaks Filzmaier of a "wild pinball ball". For ex-chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who has twice been involved in the failure of a coalition government, there is a pungent ridicule: "Even with online dating in the Tinder profile is probably not so good, if it says: 33 years young, but twice divorced. "

  On another occasion, Filzmaier uses a presumed rehearsal gag to prove that Kurz understands every conceivable question as pointing to the "meta-topic" of immigration. As far as transport policy is concerned, according to Filzmaier, Sebastian Kurz would probably argue that the main problem is "burka carriers who illegally park in second lane outside the Islamic kindergartens".


  Serious hand and mouth work Filzmaier also has to offer. Voter electricity analyzes above all. And electoral motif research. His verdict on Sebastian Kurz, who will most likely become a shining election winner on the night of 29 to 30 September, states: "Kurz is in a diffuse manner bourgeois and a tactician of power, yet he benefits from it, that he has given his party a completely new image with marketing gags. " The political young star from Vienna-Meidling, according to Filzmaier, is "basically still malleable" and thankfully "not even a bit of a legal nationalist".

"Short is condemned to success"

  That Kurz was referred to as "Schweiger Chancellor", because he often appreciated the escapades of the coalition partner FPÖ no comment, Filzmaier is particularly pleased: "The expression comes from me, he was the Austrian word of the year 2018." Should the ÖVP leader return to the top of the government after the elections on September 29, with whatever coalition partner, then he would have to position himself more clearly. And after the Ibiza affair expect high expectations: "Short is condemned to success."


One of the haggard political scientist Filzmaier, who ran the half marathon in record time at a young age and has now plastered his Beuscherl, at the very end to get rid of urgently: that many Austrians pursued the TV duels of the candidates and the subsequent analysis, was basically one good news. "Some findings from our research data," says Filzmaier, "make me seriously worried: Five percent of Austrians are declared anti-Democrats, would-be fascists or Stalinists – in addition, another 20 percent, who call themselves democratic skeptics."

  He sees it as his personal duty to "put his finger in the wound".

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