"It must give you food for thought when politics makes you ill"

Kathrin Stainer-Hämmerle on “Vorarlberg LIVE”.

Mayor Michael Ritsch, state governor Barbara Schöbi-Fink and Kathrin Stainer-Hämmerle spoke in “Vorarlberg LIVE” about the pressure on politicians and the future of the state government.

On Wednesday, state governor Markus Wallner announced his medically prescribed time off. He gave the “difficult challenges” of the past few weeks as the reason.

The Vorarlberg governor Markus Wallner (ÖVP) is now on sick leave for several weeks. This is happening on urgent medical advice, according to a press release from the state press office on Wednesday morning. The stresses of the past few months have led to physical problems for Wallner. A resignation is not in the room, it said from the office of the governor.

It has to give you food for thought when certain circumstances in politics make you ill, says political scientist and UN commentator Kathrin Stainer-Hämmerle on “Vorarlberg LIVE.” When asked what caused Governor Markus Wallner to take sick leave for several weeks , she replies: “On the one hand, crises that come from outside, such as the pandemic and inflation.” As is well known, Wallner was exposed to serious threats, even the Office for the Protection of the Constitution had to be called in. “But it’s also about another situation in Vorarlberg that we didn’t know before,” explains the political scientist. In doing so, she is addressing the “heavy criticism of politics, of the governor himself and of course also of the investigations and audits from the tax office to the corruption prosecutor’s office”. Wallner always rejected any allegations against his person as false.

How things will continue for the governor after the illness-related time off does not depend on himself. “There are several scenarios that are beyond his control.” In addition to the tax office and investigations, it is the opposition that could convene a U-committee. Stainer-Hämmerle points out that there is also the question of how much the coalition partner – the Greens – is behind Wallner. “Last but not least, intra-party dynamics can develop if Wallner is not at the table.”

On the other hand, it is a good opportunity for Wallner to distance himself. He will definitely think about how he can turn the negative spiral for the ÖVP after his break. “It is also an opportunity for the party to take the governor out of the line of fire a little.” Criticism of him personally would certainly be dealt with cautiously in the coming weeks. The ÖVP gained some time.

That’s what Mayor Ritsch says about Wallner’s break

In the middle is not only the state governor Barbara Schöbi-Fink, who will temporarily take over Wallner’s government business. Summer is a quieter time and the work is shared among several shoulders.

In the meantime, the ÖVP is being steered by the regional health councilor and chairwoman of the women’s association, Martina Rüscher. “There are a few areas where the party could become active,” Stainer-Hämmerle notes. This is where the Health Minister comes into play. “It is important to convey that the bookkeeping will be in order in the future. Martina Rüscher will be required to communicate this. But it also has the advantage of repeatedly pointing out that Markus Wallner is on a break and that certain questions cannot be answered immediately.”

Ritsch on Wallner’s break: How do you return?

At the end of the day, however, it is crucial that all important people in the ÖVP also show insight, do not stonewall and do not indignantly reject any criticism. The political scientist notes that one could have expected apologetic words for the Wirtschaftsbund affair from other top representatives. So far, Rüscher has been alone in this. Schöbi-Fink at least distanced himself from his own party’s economic association on Wednesday, but at the same time emphasized that he had never been a member himself.

The broadcast “Vorarlberg LIVE” is a cooperation between VOL.AT, VN.at, Ländle TV and VOL.AT TV and is broadcast from Monday to Friday from 5 p.m. There’s more here.

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