Austria's longest serving mayor - 50 years realpolitik

Governments may come and go, but this is of no concern to Valentin Deutschmann. The 80-year-old has seen it all - coalition crises, snap elections, scandals - whatever may have hit Austria, mayor Deutschann has weathered every storm. ( dpa )

For the past 50 years, Deutschmann has ruled over the small village Grafenstein in the southern province of Carinthia, making him the country's longest-serving community leader, and probably among the top contenders for this particular honour in Europe.

Realpolitik rules in Grafenstein, where the octogenarian mayor holds a seemingly permanent monopoly on an absolute majority. Coalition gambles, voter deceit or breaking promises is never on, he believes.

"You have to keep the promises you make," the experienced local politician said, voicing his lack of understanding for the current coalition squabbles that continue to shake the Austrian government.

As a mayor, one has to keep honest, openly discuss negative issues as well as positive ones, and stay with both feet on the ground, Deutschmann said, relating the secrets of his success for his long stint on top of the community of 2,800 residents.

"The people have to know that they are taken seriously," he said. And if there was trouble, the main goal was to find a consensus and not have an all-out media war.

Andreas Tischler, head of the municipal office, is full of praise for his boss: "He never tried to sell miracles to the people, like promising them a public swimming pool." The mayor was a man who stuck to his word, but despite all realism still had some visions for Grafenstein, a farming village about 12 kilometres from the provincial capital, Klagenfurt.

Grafenstein was one of the first communities in rural Austria to have a kindergarten, a small revolution for the Catholic country with strong conservative family values.

Since taking office in 1958, only three years after Austria re- gained its full independence after World War II, Deutschmann worked for improving his community - rebuilding the school and improving the sewer system. This may not sound earth-shaking in the grand scheme of things, but certainly hit a nerve with the Grafensteiners.

From 1966 to 1987 Deutschmann was a member of Austria's parliament in Vienna for the conservative People's Party. However, things were going downhill in the capital. "A politician has to lead by example," Deutschmann warned sternly.

That meant a spotless record, being well-dressed, always well- mannered and never forgetting about proper behaviour.

Yet, after 50 years of quasi-Deutschmann hegemony, there are here and there some still muted voices of discontent. Criticism against Deutschmann's long time in office could be heard among the patrons of her inn, Alwine Kulterer, proprietress of the Grafenstein guesthouse, said. "There are some people here who would like to replace him."

Deutschmann said he was not planning to stick around forever, and was eying retirement, now that he has reached 80. Already in the starting blocks is a possible successor - Deutschmann's son Stefan, currently serving as a deputy mayor. If the Grafenstein voters agree, things can be kept in the family.

Azerbaijan’s startup sector expects big investments
Azerbaijan’s startup sector expects big investments
Iran, Qatar sign an extensive Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate cooperation
Iran, Qatar sign an extensive Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate cooperation
Switzerland names main trade statistics with Turkmenistan
Switzerland names main trade statistics with Turkmenistan
Loading Bars
Latest
Turkmenistan's Turkmennebit opens tender for purchase of equipment
Azerbaijan’s startup sector expects big investments
Iran's ten-month import of steel from Turkey drops
Tesla set to breach $500 billion in market value
State budget for 2021-2023 approved in Kazakhstan following amendments introduction
Kazakhstan's bitumen output exceeds 2020 plan as maintenance works held country-wide
Port of Baku reveals total 10M2020 cargo shipments
New railway vehicles put into operation in Iran
Iran`s Zarif to visit Moscow and Baku despite postponement
Kazakhstan looking to double renewables share in electricity production
Iran continues to cut reliance on oil revenue
Volume of container transshipment between Kazakh, Azerbaijani ports almost triples
LUKOIL refusing plans to construct giant petrochemical complexes
Iran, Qatar sign an extensive Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate cooperation
Switzerland names main trade statistics with Turkmenistan
Dry cargo transshipments through Baku port grow in 10M2020
LUKOIL says reducing oil exports to Europe is inevitable
Georgia receives new buses of modern standards
Georgian hazelnuts exports up
Georgia sees increase in export of tangerines
Ryanair wants to be 'at front of queue' for new 737 MAX order
Azercell’s Mobile Eye Clinic joins campaign for IDPs initiated by the UN (PHOTO)
El Al to launch Tel Aviv - Dubai flights next month
Kazakhstan’s third-quarter economic performance benefits from recovery of oil prices
Azerbaijan informs UNESCO, ISESCO about results of initial monitorings on liberated areas
Turkmenistan’s private sector participates in dev't of poultry farming
Iran discloses plan on creation of new jobs in Yazd Province
Destroyed Armenian positions firing at Azerbaijani army during recent hostilities shown (PHOTOS)
Central Bank of Azerbaijan discloses data from foreign exchange auction
CBI announces Iran's external debt
Azerbaijan starts to grow bananas - Azerbaijani Ministry of Agriculture
Azerbaijani servicemen help Armenians to move belongings from villages of Aghdam district (VIDEO)
PAYSIS expanding range of innovative services in Azerbaijan
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for November 24
E-Space reveals volume of EVs registered in Georgia
Azerbaijan discloses volume of tobacco harvested this season
Russian insurance agency to fund Uzbekistan’s hydrocarbon raw materials production
Iran to boost apple production
Georgia reveals volume of exported apples
Income of Chinese contractor of infrastructural projects in Georgia up
We were able to get necessary international support in key issue for us - President Aliyev
LUKOIL says $40/bbl is worst case scenario for oil prices
If we had not created necessary legal framework for resolving conflict, we could have faced problems today - President Aliyev
Iran registers order at COVAX to buy vaccine
Air traffic reduces in Georgia - EUROCONTROL
Second asphalt layer of Ashgabat-Turkmenabat highway being laid
Russian Export Center discloses value of support for exports to Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's import of limestone, cement down in 10M2020
Aghdam operation was part of our plans - President Aliyev
Kocharyan and Sargsyan, you have knelt before us - President of Azerbaijan
We will restore the city of Aghdam - President of Azerbaijan
No-one should worry, especially leaders of Western countries - President Aliyev
Pashinyan imprisoning captures all opposition, West remains silent - President Aliyev
Many times when I was on line of contact, in trenches, I thought that one day we would return - President of Azerbaijan
I said, Pashinyan, you personally must give us a timetable, you must do it yourself - President Aliyev
We have destroyed enemy in hand-to-hand battle, crossing ravines, forests, mountains, and liberated Shusha - President Aliyev
Precious metal prices in Azerbaijan down
Victory on battlefield made it possible to liberate Aghdam district without a single shot - President of Azerbaijan
Today, many developed countries studying our experience - President of Azerbaijan
Some int'l organizations did not want to reveal identity of occupier in documents adopted - President Aliyev
We do not depend on anyone, do not depend on any country, on any int'l financial institution - President Aliyev
New gas condensate storage facilities to be launched in Iran's Asaluyeh County
Uzbekistan’s largest import of wood products falls on Russia
Uzbekistan eyes importing electricity from Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan
Uzbek-Chinese JV to buy spare parts for analyzer via tender
Azerbaijan indicts Armenian ex-defense minister on another article
To those questioning support for Azerbaijan territorial integrity, I suggest they read UNSC resolutions - Former Romanian FM
Turkmenistan considering possibility of growing pistachios
EBRD provides Azerbaijan with loan to improve environment in Ganja
Georgia reports 3,128 new coronavirus cases
Uzbekistan’s gov’t ready to back Ipoteka-Bank
UNICEF contributes to dev't of Turkmenistan's action plan for its national strategy
Israel's Netanyahu says will visit Bahrain soon
Iran reveals data on new enterprises in Hamadan province
President Aliyev presents Holy Quran he brought from Mecca to Aghdam mosque
Turkmenistan implements advanced technologies in oil, gas industry
Profit of Georgian banking system up
Raw sulfur output volumes drop in Kazakhstan
TOBB reveals total capital of Iranian companies registered in Turkey
Investments in Iran’s Hormozgan Province spike
Zenith Energy transporting drilling rigs outside of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani oil prices grow
Georgia reveals volume of assets of State Pension Fund
Uzbekneftegaz, Gazprombank in talks over financing of hydrocarbon production in Uzbekistan
Iran's exports via customs of Astara County increases
Uzbekistan reduces import of Turkish electrical goods in October
Azerbaijan's 10M2020 import of Turkish ready-made clothes edges up
Uzbekistan’s glass factory expands production of polished sheet glass
IRICA declares details of Iran’s imports
Volume of cars export for 10M2020 in Uzbekistan revealed
Kazakhstan's revenue from transport via pipelines down amid COVID-19
Poland’s service sector may be attractive for Azerbaijani investments
Turkmenistan, UNDP discuss draft work plans for 2021
Azerbaijani currency rates for Nov. 24
Poland, Azerbaijan should establish direct flights, says ambassador
Poland, Azerbaijan could analyse cooperation on third markets
Poland, Azerbaijan have to work together to effectively connect ports, multimodal terminals
Azerbaijan's corporation, German company select auditor for future aluminum plant
Poland to support further development of Southern Gas Corridor, says envoy
Iran's exports decrease
All news