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Intraparty communication and permeability in the SPÖ from the perspective of local political actors

2023, Pinzolits, Robert

The Austrian Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) has seen its electorate steadily decline in recent years. As the party struggles to communicate clear messages to voters, debates about the internal party’s communication and leadership are increasingly being played out in the media. This study examines the perceptions of local political actors of the SPÖ regarding intra-party communication between organizational levels. The research methodology includes problem-centered interviews and group discussions with 12 local SPÖ actors from Lower Austria and Vienna. The results of the study shed light on key issues such as the need for improved intra-party communication and better transition structures for activists within the party organization. The recent success of the Communist Party (KPÖ Plus) in the federal state of Salzburg in April 2023 underscores the challenges facing the SPÖ in the current situation. Two of the three candidates for the membership referendum from April 24-May 10, 2023, in which the party base will make a preliminary decision on the future leadership of the SPÖ in order to end internal strife, argue for breaking through elitist bubbles and creating a grassroots participatory party that reflects the grassroots sentiment surveyed in this study.