Austria: Two on the Seesaw

Ever since World War II—even through ten years of Soviet occupation—the Austrian government has been run jointly by the conservative People's Party and the Socialist Party, like two polite, equally weighted cousins on an inert seesaw. So scrupulously balanced is the coalition and the Proporz system of dividing up the jobs that, according to Viennese table talk, if there is one People's Party Putz-frau (charwoman) in a government building, there must be a Socialist Putzfrau too. After last November's elections, balance became stalemate; the two big parties have been haggling over...

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