The union of municipalities is preparing to replace its controversial president Alfred Riedl (ÖVP). At the federal executive board meeting on Friday, charter reform will allow the president to be removed from office. Riedl only suspended his office in the summer amid allegations that he benefited financially from a property deal in the Grafenwörth community thanks to rezoning. The community association hopes Riedl will avoid voting by resigning.
Riedl will not attend the federal board meeting, which starts at lunch time in Vienna and includes reports on charter amendments and fiscal equalization, among other issues, the community association told APA. He no longer holds any position in the municipal union and it is clear that he will not return to his position. At the end of October, Riedl again refused to resign voluntarily and announced that he wanted to wait first for the results of the audit procedures carried out by the state auditor and the regional administration.
The new charter should provide that in the future it will be possible to vote for a president with a two-thirds majority and a two-thirds majority. If Riedl does not voluntarily leave, the community association could initiate his deelection and new election as early as early 2024, the date the charter change becomes legally binding. According to the community association, this is a last resort that no one wants.
Meanwhile, candidates for Riedl’s successor are also positioning themselves. Ten regional heads can participate in elections (Vienna is not represented in the municipal union, but Lower Austria and Burgenland each have their own ÖVP and SPÖ regional union, note). There are no election proposals yet, but according to a report in the newspaper “Kronen Zeitung” (Thursday edition), Johannes Pressl of the Association of Municipalities of Lower Austria (ÖVP) can expect good luck, if only because Lower Austria makes up a quarter of the population. federal board members. Dornbirn mayor Andrea Kaufmann, who has been leading the municipal union on an interim basis since the end of July, and his Styrian counterpart Erwin Dirnberger (both ÖVP) are also considered potential successors. But Kaufmann had already refused.
Riedl has been president of the union of municipalities since 2017 and was a member of the Lower Austrian state parliament from 1998 to 2018. He has been mayor of Grafenwörth (Tulln district) since 1990. Controversial property sales in his area have put Riedl under pressure since the summer. Described in the media as the “mini Dubai of Weinviertel”, the “Sonnenweiher” project includes more than 200 houses around the foil lake. Reports say Riedl is said to have made over a million euros from the sale of the property, and further deals were announced in the summer.