At what point did you decide to become involved in Austrian Politics?
I was always very interested in what’s going on in Austria. My first involvement in Austrian politics was….drum roll…. going to elections and expressing my political opinion on a ballot paper. My decision to develop an online platform to facilitate political participation for citizens, was the result of my frustration around the backlog in necessary reforms, the amount of corruption scandals and the missing integrity of some politicians. As my colleague Bernhard felt the same way, we started thinking about a way to improve the situation.
What is the fulfilling part of your job? And do you find yourself being angry a lot?
I believe that democracy is the best governmental form and it is a blessing that we don’t have to worry about such elementary things as freedom of speech or other human rights. Nevertheless, this system is not carved in stone. As a citizen in a democracy you have three major roles: 1. observe what is going on 2. criticise when necessary 3. participate in political decisions. With iDEPART, we make it easier for citizens to fulfil these roles and this is a major contributor of motivation.
I am angry when I am confronted with hypocrisy and corrupt behaviour. And I am furious when some politicians take us for fools!
What is your prognosis for Austrian politics in the next years? Can you notice a “trend” with the next generations?
I consider the chance that right-wing parties will profit from increasing nationalism due to the financial and the Euro crisis as high. In times of decreasing wealth and rising unemployment it is easier to catch votes with simple statements and solutions even if they might be myopic. It will also depend on the ability of the EU to get the crisis under control.
Your project was awarded the Social Impact Award this year. What is coming up for you in the next months?
After the official launch in the next weeks, we will continue to further develop the platform and offer more possibilities to increase political participation of citizens. Furthermore, we will naturally focus on gaining visibility and attract active users.
What makes you get up and go to work in the morning?
My to-do list!
How is working at the HUB for you?
Very good. The atmosphere in the HUB is completely different from working at home and also from working in a normal office.