Published On: Fri, Sep 27th, 2013

Frank Stronach puts himself in the race to become the next Chancellor of Austria

Stronach, who left his country of birth after the Second World War to make a new life and a considerable fortune in Canada, continues in his efforts to give something back.

Frank Stronach Getty

Frank Stronach / Getty

Sunday, September 29th will mark a remarkable day in the life of Frank Stronach. That’s the day when the Team Stronach political party, formed just one year ago and headed by Stronach,   goes into the biannual Austrian elections with a hypothetical chance, of getting the majority vote. If, however, that unlikely event does occur Stronach, at the age of 81,  will take up the role of Chancellor in place of the incumbent Werner Faymann.

When the votes were counted, it did emerge that Stronach would  not be taking up the role of Chancellor, or anywhere close, although his Team Stronach did clear the minimum  4-percent hurdle needed to have parliament representation with 5.8 percent. ,  a fair result for a party contesting  its first federal election.

However,  political analysts in Austria give Team Stronach little chance with the most recent polls predicting that the best they can hope for is around eight per cent of the vote. The Team Stronach party, with a political platform pushing heavily for tax, health and education reform, has made something of an impression in the normally staid elections this time around in Austria.

Elections for the 183 seats in the National Council (Nationalrat) take place every five years, with the party that gains the most seats controlling the National Council through the law of proportional representation.

The current Austrian government, voted in 2008, is made up from a coalition between Austria’s two largest parties, the SPÖ and ÖVP, with SPÖ’s Werner Faymann having held the role of Chancellor since the last elections.

The same political analysts that give Stronach and his party little chance of making much of an impact on Sundays election result have been forthcoming in their praise of how he managed his campaign, describing it as a mix between astuteness and lavishness, with Stronach playing strongly on his charisma and innate ability to find himself at the center of publicity.

Media estimates that Stronach’s campaign has cost considerably more than any of the other parties, at more than $33 million, causing some political strafing as it is considerably more than any of his opponents can afford.

However, Frank Stronach, irrespective of the results of Sunday’s elections will remain a very popular figure in the country that he grew up in, and left at the age of 16 in 1954, returning two years ago to take up residence again in a week Oberwaltersdorf, Austria.

Through his international conglomerate Magna, Stronach invested millions of Euros in the country, creating around 20, 000 jobs, becoming the highest profile owner of FK Austria, Vienna, as well as providing support for a wide range of social initiatives.

With an estimated net worth of $US 1.2 billion, Stronach has earned himself the ranking as the 25th wealthiest Canadian.

 

Frank Stronach was born and raised in the small town of Kleinsemmering, Austria in the early nineteen thirties, living through some of the most difficult times for the country, particularly the crushing Depression of the every part of the decade, which largely caused the Second World War. Surviving the war, Stronach was forced to leave school at the age of 14, becoming an apprentice for a tool and die maker.

In 1954, Stronach succeeded in getting out of Austria, first putting down roots in Montreal, before finally settling in Aurora, in the Canadian state of Ontario.

It was there that he founded Magna International, an international automotive parts company based in Aurora, Ontario, Part of Stronach Group . Considerably later Frank Stronach indulged himself and his love of horse racing by forming the Magna Entertainment Corporation, which specializes in horse-racing entertainment, with the company going on to acquire and operate some of the largest racetracks in the United States.

Despite his success in North America, Stronach’s strong affiliations with his native country have always always evident, a bond  that  was strengthened when he returned “ home” to found his European subsidiary, Magna Europe during the nineteen eighties.

 

 

 

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