Local Political Parties in Austria during the COVID-19 Era: A Comparative Case Analysis
This article examines local political party organization of the SPÖ and its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The practices and initiatives adopted by local political, social, and democratic party groups in two Austrian regions, a rural town in Styria and an urban district in Vienna, during the COVID-19 pandemic were examined. Using Problem-centered interviews (PCI) and group discussions as instruments for data collection, it was investigated how these parties adapted their activities to maintain engagement and support from the population in the face of unprecedented challenges. The results showed that both parties transitioned to online formats for meetings and events. Measures such as telephone assistance for emotional support, projects to support local businesses, and social measures for those in financial need were introduced to meet the urgent needs of people in the communities. Despite some challenges such as fluctuating motivation, difficulties in maintaining online engagement, ICT competencies, and dealing with personal overload, local parties demonstrated resilience and adaptability during the crisis.
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