In the empty Jahn gym in Ried im Innkreis, federal party leader Norbert Hofer and the state FPÖ leader Manfred Haimbuchner criticize the government’s corona management in particular.
This time you had to bring your own beer and herring feast – the FPÖ’s 30th Political Ash Wednesday went differently than usual. Instead of pithy sayings, there was an online chat between Federal Party Chairman Norbert Hofer and the Upper Austrian FPÖ boss Manfred Haimbuchner in the Jahn gym in Ried im Innkreis. Hofer was already happy when “Former Governor Haimbuchner and Seniorenringobmann Hofer” talked about “how we really mixed up the country” in 30 years.
Usually the FPÖ celebrates itself at Political Ash Wednesday – full beer benches, music, flags, pointed speeches. This time the setting was different: Hofer and Haimbuchner sat alone on stage with presenter Lisa Gubik, in the background the empty hall, which was sparingly bathed in blue light. The conversation was broadcast on the two politicians’ Facebook pages, where at the beginning almost 1,000 and later around 650 to 700 viewers were reported, and on YouTube. Overall, this Ash Wednesday was much more civilized and reserved than usual, the conversation rippled on, people worked their way through the turquoise-green government and mourned the turquoise-blue times.
Criticism of Corona-Management
The main target of the attacks in the “relaxed and moody” – as the announcement put it – was the government’s corona management, which is seen more as mismanagement. Haimbuchner’s conclusion: “The government did not lead the country through the crisis, it led the crisis through the country.” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that soon everyone would know someone who died of Corona was scare-mongering, the two agreed, for Hofer it was “a mess”. Haimbuchner found it particularly incomprehensible that it was not possible to seal off the borders during the wave of refugees in 2015, but now an entire federal state can be cordoned off because of a mutation, he said, referring to the controls at the borders with Tyrol, although “every virus mutates “.
Hofer then remembered the blue government participation: Mario Kunasek and Herbert Kickl had “really got involved” as ministers, a lot had been worked in the FPÖ government, he said, while the ÖVP had “only one marketing apparatus”. Now the People’s Party “still has the marketing apparatus, but a government partner who does nothing in terms of content.” In the current federal government, whose appearances at press conferences of “the three wise men, mostly there were four”, “people are at work – I don’t mean that as a personal reproach – they lack the experience. One should ask who da has children, “Haimbuchner misses out on real life. Most of the Greens “couldn’t even drive in a nail”.
Corona management was widely criticized. They failed to protect the elderly and the risk groups, and in the implementation they “couldn’t do anything” with the federal guidelines. “All the testing in schools is useless,” said Haimbuchner, not even the masks, because the children do not pose a threat to the health system.