Die Nationalratswahlkämpfe der Jahre 1990, 1994 und 1995 als Spiegelbild des Wandels in Politik und medialer Berichterstattung

Eine Bestandsaufnahme.

von Stephan Grundei

The article “Die Nationalratswahlkämpfe der Jahre 1990, 1994 und 1995 als Spiegelbild des Wandels in Politik und medialer Berichterstattung” analyzes the media coverage of the electoral campaigns for the Austrian national assembly in the years 1990, 1994 and 1995. The radio news shows “Mittagsjournal” and “Journal-Panorama” served as main references. The analyzed period starts six weeks before the election and ends two weeks after. Every report with political content has been taken into consideration. The article is directly linked to the audio files in the data base of the Österreichische Mediathek. Therefore the recipient is able to listen to the relevant reports immediately and directly.
The thesis shows the unique characteristic of every campaign. Furthermore it works out the development of the relation between media and politics. An increasing intensity of media coverage is clearly noticeable. Debates got more popular. Mass media was used more frequently by the political parties to deliver their messages.

The political landscape in Austria changed in the 1990s even without change in power. The upcoming right wing party FPÖ and their leader Jörg Haider introduced a new, aggressive political style. The two governing parties SPÖ and ÖVP had to learn how to deal with this new political force. Nevertheless SPÖ and ÖVP could maintain the political majority. After all three elections the two parties formed a grand coalition. The green party developed from a political movement into a political party. The Liberales Forum was represented as a fifth party in the national assembly after the elections of 1994 and 1995.

Chancellor Franz Vranitzky was the leading candidate for the SPÖ in all three elections. Especially the SPÖ was handicapped in consequence of scandals in the campaigns of 1990 and 1994. The ÖVP was represented by different candidates in every single campaign. Josef Riegler (1990), Alois Mock (1994) and Wolfgang Schüssel (1995) were the front runners. The FPÖ was headed by Jörg Haider. The aggressive style of Jörg Haider was dominant in the electoral campaigns of the 1990s.  The Liberales Forum was represented by the founding member Heide Schmidt. In 1993 five members of parliament had separated from the FPÖ and had formed the Liberales Forum. The green party tried to run a different kind of campaign in 1990 when they were headed by four different candidates. In 1994 and 1995 the Greens were led by Madeleine Petrovic.