ÖVP conversion: Polaschek becomes Minister of Education – steiermark.ORF.at

In the ÖVP government team, no stone remains unturned: The previous Interior Minister Karl Nehammer is to become party leader and chancellor, and there are also some other new faces – more on this in ÖVP makes Nehammer Chancellor (news.ORF.at). The new appointment to the Ministry of Education is quite surprising: Heinz Faßmann is leaving, Martin Polaschek is coming.

And he hadn’t expected that himself: “I was very surprised! I don’t actually answer if a number calls that I don’t know. But somehow I thought it would be something important. And then Mr. Nehammer asked me if I would like to become a minister and I discussed it with my wife and I said yes; although I have to say that it is not easy for me to leave my university now: I am the rector with heart and soul and I love this university. But I think it is a great and responsible task that one simply has to face in this case ”- Polaschek wants to give everything“ that I will do a good job for Styria in Vienna too ”- be it for concrete plans but it’s still too early now.

Professor succeeds Professor

With the legal historian Polaschek, a professor is moving back to Faßmann as Minister of Education on Minoritenplatz. Like Faßmann, the rector of the University of Graz comes directly from university management: the well-connected legal scholar was vice rector for 16 years, and in 2019 he made it to the top of the university with the second attempt.

Polaschek made a career as a university insider in Graz, only short research stays took him away from there. In 2000 he completed his habilitation at the University of Graz and was appointed associate professor at the Institute for Austrian Legal History and European Legal Development. From a purely technical point of view, he is part of the mid-level academic staff – he was denied an appointment to a full professorship.

Portrait of Education Minister Martin Polaschek

The Styrian legal scholar and legal historian Martin Polaschek takes over from Education Minister Heinz Faßmann.

His main interests are contemporary legal history and research on federalism and municipalities, and he has been President of the Post-War Justice Research Center since 2006. From 2003 to 2019 he was also Vice-Rector for Studies and Teaching and as Director of Studies, responsible for the concerns of the more than 30,000 students.

Is considered determined

In pursuing his career goals, Polaschek, who was born in Bruck / Mur in 1965, was determined: After losing to Christa Neuper in the rector election in 2011, he made it to the top in 2019. Until then, Polaschek, who lives in Graz with his wife and their two children who were brought into the marriage, was not considered to be clearly politically partisan. For this, pioneers attest to his willingness to dialogue and compromise, which he will probably be able to use in the controversial dealings with schools during the pandemic.

Fashionable at times extravagant

In terms of fashion, Polaschek sometimes likes things extravagant, from long hair – rarely seen in male university management staff – to frock coats.


Martin Polaschek, Hans Sünkel and Wolfhard Wegscheider

He also has no problems with activism: The photo in which Polaschek and the then rectors of the Technical University of Graz and the Montanuni Leoben drew attention to their financial concerns with empty pockets pulled out is cult. In earlier years the visual arts were also one of his passions, but now the passionate cyclist prefers to read a book in his spare time.

Schützenhöfer: “An excellent choice”

For Governor Hermann Schützenhöfer (ÖVP), Polaschek fulfills all the prerequisites “to lead the key department of education and science well in these challenging times”.

LH Schützenhöfer: Results of the ÖVP party meeting

Governor Hermann Schützenhöfer (ÖVP) explains in an interview that Karl Nehammer was unanimously elected Chancellor and federal party leader. He also confirms that Education Minister Heinz Faßmann will be replaced by Uni-Graz Rector Martin Polaschek.

Polaschek is a good choice: “It has less to do with Styria than with his qualifications – an excellent choice,” said Schützenhöfer.

Krautwaschl: “Polaschek prudent rector”

Landtag Club chairwoman Sandra Krautwaschl from the Greens wished Polaschek all the best in this important task in a broadcast: “I got to know and appreciate Martin Polaschek as a prudent university director, he had to master numerous challenges in university politics. I am also pleased that with him another enthusiastic cyclist is entering the government. “


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