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Haselsteiner as Candidate for NEOS

Published: September 5, 2013; 16:27 · (Vindobona)

Austrian party NEOS has added former CEO of Strabag Hans-Peter Haselsteiner as top candidate for the parliamentary elections. Haselsteiner has so far supported the party behind the scenes.

Haselsteiner as Candidate for NEOS / Picture: © Wikipedia / Tsui

During the small party’s intense election campaigns a new face appears as minister candidate. Up to now, Haselsteiner has supported the pink party with € 440,000. Further campaigns will be financially backed “appropriate to my earnings”, Haselsteiner announced during a press conference.

Founder of NEOS, Matthias Strolz, considers Haselsteiner the “turbo that is charged”. The entrepreneur does not only want to contribute monetarily but also intends to give input, particularly in regard to economic issues. So far the party has focused on the education department. Haselsteiner would be the one to lead governmental negotiations, in case the party will gain a seat in the National Assembley. He does not regard the party’s two key issues as contradictory and assumes that NEOS will gain two seats in parliament at least.

Haselsteiner, who was a member of parliament of the Austrian Liberal Forum, claims that with the major coalition in Austria [Social Democrats, SPÖ and Austrian People’s Party, ÖVP] alone nothing will change, which, according to the former CEO of Strabag, became evident in the first TV duel between Chancellor Werner Faymann (SPÖ) and his deputy Michael Spindelegger (ÖVP). “They will continue doing nothing for the next five years,” Haselsteiner claims.

Therefore, he considers NEOS as most suitable coalition party for SPÖ and ÖVP. Founder of NEOS, Strolz, has so far preferred the three-party-coalition of the People’s Party, the Austrian Greens and NEOS. Haselsteiner on the other hand views the Greens as a no-go and the sheer opposite of what NEOS represents. This is why he doubts he wanted to “force himself” to work in a coalition with them

Another party Haselsteiner would reject to work with is Team Stronach. “I cannot win any wars with a bought-up mercenary troop, particularly when the commander is hard to understand,” he said. He asked the press representatives to keep from comparing him to the Austrian-Canadian politician and founder of Magna International. According to Haselsteiner it would start with the fact, that he was not a billionaire. “With the current prices of shares of Strabag it would not be enough,” he stated.

Still, Haselsteiner is not exactly poor and he reiterated his opinion about introducing a higher top tax rate for salaries above the amount of one million Euros. However, he pointed out, that in return, taxes had to be decreased somewhere else.

Haselsteiner does not hope to be alleged of bribes by the political competition. He pointed out that he is not among the accused any more. Strolz, in any case, is positive about NEOS moving into parliament on September 29.

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