No. 490

Editorial Note

The Presidential candidates for the elections in May were announced by the various political parties in late February and early March. The nominee for the People’s Party was Heinrich Gleissner, Governor of Upper Austria. His selection caused some concern in the Legation because of his former affiliation with the Nazi Party, a fact which Donnelly felt could be exploited by the Communists. (Telegram 1373 from Vienna, January 8, 763.11/1–851) The Socialist nominee was Theodor Koerner, Mayor of Vienna, while the recently formed Nonpartisan Committee for National Unity selected Burghard Breitner, a hero of World War I and a professor of surgery at the University of Innsbruck.

Since no candidate polled an absolute majority during the elections of May 6, a runoff election was scheduled for May 27 between Gleissner and Koerner, the two leading candidates. Despite all preelection analyses, the Socialist candidate Koerner was elected Rehner’s successor by 52 percent of the total vote. Documentation concerning the election is in files 763.00 and 763.11.