Austrian Social Democrats set to crown first woman leader
Former Austrian Health Minister Pamela Rendi-Wagner is set to become the new chair of the countrys opposition Social Democrat Party (SPÖ).
Rendi-Wagner was unanimously elected by the 16-member party leadership in a specially convened meeting Saturday, German magazine Der Spiegel reported. The decision will be formally endorsed by the 70-strong party executive Tuesday.
The 47-year-old doctor in tropical medicine is the first woman at the top of the SPÖ, Austrias second-largest party that is currently in the opposition. Rendi-Wagner only began her political career in March 2017 when she joined the previous government as minister of health and women.
She has attacked the current governments plans to reverse a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants as an “enormous step backward for health policy” which showed that peoples health has “no value.”
In October 2017, the Austrian Peoples Party ÖVP won the parliamentary elections and the then 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz became the new chancellor.
Rendi-Wagner succeeds Austrias previous Chancellor Christian Kern at the head of the SPÖ. She is married to the former Austrian ambassador to Israel, Michael Rendi, and has two daughters.
Social Democrats reached 26.9 percent in the 2017 parliamentary election. Recent polls suggest the party has made little progress with voters since then, with their standing slightly higher at 28 percent.