Monday, May 30, 2016

Week 21: Cheers! | Close Shave

I have an embarrassing confession to make. The last time I was able to name all ministers of the Austrian Parliament was at the age of 17 when our History teacher made us watch "Wochenschau", a weekly review of international news and write a summary. I have never been so up-to-date with political events as I was in my late teens. I am simply not particularly interested and "into" national politics. Mind you, I never skip an election as in my opinion it would be a slap in the face of those who fought for people (and women in particular) to be able to to that and also you do not have the right to complain about the outcome if you didn't even bother. 
Even so, I don't tend to get passionate about electoral campaigns and usually just acknowledge the outcome of presidential elections with an "ok, so it's this person then" attitude. This time, however, it was different. When the final round last Sunday did not come up with conclusive results and the right-wing candidate (whom I did not want to win) was slightly ahead, but experts assumed that postal voters would turn the balance, I was crossing my fingers these predictions were right...as they were. On Sunday afternoon, I almost emptied my phone battery by constantly refreshing to see who won. It felt like a thriller that both candidates were so close and everyone seemed to be talking about it, making predictions who would win. On Monday afternoon, for when final results were promised, my colleagues and I were refreshing news portals and eventually switched on the TV in our office kitchen for the first time ever to hear the announcement that the left-wing candidate had won and toasted with champagne. We all shared the same relief and sentiment: "Can you IMAGINE that your country had been represented by that right wing guy?" It's not all good yet as elections for the National Assembly are coming up and we fear the worst, but until then: phew!

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