As Ischgl’s Corona Crisis Manager, Günther Platter made headlines around the world in spring 2020. Now retiring – according to polls, his ÖVP is facing a double-digit catastrophe.
In Austria, one of the most influential figures of the conservatives leaves the political scene unexpectedly. Tyrolean Prime Minister Günther Platter (ÖVP) wants to retire after 14 years in office and 36 years in politics.
“Once is enough,” said the 68-year-old from Innsbruck. Platter has proposed the Tyrolean Minister of Economy Anton Mattle (ÖVP) as his successor. Mattle should also head the party in the state elections scheduled for 2023 at the latest.
The ÖVP currently rules in Tirol – as in the federal government – with the Greens. Thanks to Platter, ÖVP is losing another popular top politician within days. At the beginning of June, the prime minister of Styria, 70-year-old Hermann Schützenhöfer, resigned due to his age.
The ÖVP is facing a double-digit catastrophe
Movement happened without warning. The ÖVP is located in Tyrol as well as in the federal government in a low-level survey. While Platter received nearly 45 percent of the vote in his last election, a double-digit meltdown is now imminent. “Platter didn’t want to take this defeat anymore,” said political adviser Thomas Hofer of the German Press Agency.
The head of state was in the spotlight, especially at the start of the corona crisis in spring 2020, when crisis management at the Tyrolean ski resort of Ischgl was severely criticized. After the first infections were exposed, thousands of tourists fled the community, spreading the virus. However, Platter saw the responsibility for the travel chaos at the federal rather than state level.
Target party finances
Platter’s withdrawal is another sign that ÖVP is not going to take a break. In addition to poor polls and investigations by the prosecutor’s office, including against the former chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the party’s finances were again in the spotlight.
In an unusual step, the Court of Auditors commissioned auditors to audit ÖVP’s 2019 election campaign spending. It is unlikely that ÖVP actually spent just the € 5.6 million it indicated at the National Council elections, it said last week. (dpa)