“After the serious violation of the Federal President Van der Bellen against applicable Corona regulations, the responsible authority must now take action quickly,” FPÖ general secretary Michael Schnedlitz said on Monday. The head of state must be treated in the same way “as those 40 000 citizens who allegedly violated the same regulations”.
The FPÖ politician warned that unequal treatment between the Federal President and the population would not be sustainable in a democracy. “In this way, the head of state taunted the population, which was severely plagued by the government’s Corona madness, and who adhered to the black and green rules, no matter how senseless,” Schnedlitz said.
Van der Bellen had been caught by the police with drinks on the table on the terrace of an Italian restaurant in downtown Vienna on the night of Sunday at eight past twelve. According to current Corona regulations, restaurants have to close at 11 pm. Restaurateurs who violate this must pay a fine of up to 30 000 euros.
“I went out to eat for the first time since the lockdown with two friends and my wife. We then chatted and unfortunately missed the time,” van der Bellen claimed on Twitter. “I am truly sorry. It was a mistake.” He also announced: “Should the host suffer any damage, I will be responsible for it.”
Schnedlitz demanded that the responsible authorities take action and “launch an application for persecution to the National Council”. The law applies to everyone “and immunity must not protect in such a case”. Van der Bellen would be well advised to file a voluntary declaration, “because that would be suitable given the situation”.
The Tyrolean FPÖ leader Markus Abwerzger wrote on Twitter: “What do we do now? I can remind you that a young FPÖ state politician had to resign due to media pressure. They do as they please, although everyone else must follow the rules. Idol? Pooh!”
Abwerzger referred to the Styrian Member of Parliament Gerhard Hirschmann. The FPÖ politician, along with three other people, was caught celebrating in a club room despite the Corona restrictions on March 21. After the incident and Austria-wide reporting, he announced that he would “resign all functions in the Freedom Party”.
The FPÖ Heiligenkreuz am Waasen announced however that Hirschmann would be the top candidate in the upcoming municipal council election.