In 2018, he gave Austria a third-place result at Eurovision. But this October, Austrian singer and songwriter Cesár Sampson will face a different kind of vote. He’s standing as an Austrian Green party candidate in the upcoming elections for the Vienna City Council.
Cesár has been confirmed as standing for Die Grünen in Vienna’s Inner Stadt polling district. He’s the fourth-ranked Green candidate. As of the 2015 election, the Greens picks up ten seats in Vienna’s city council — but with 100 members in total, they are very much a minority party.
In his profile on the Greens’ website, Cesár describes himself as being “interested in many things, in climate protection, transport, energy and housing, in conscious cooperation in diversity.”
He also explains that he “noticed that the ears, eyes and hearts of citizens in our country are increasingly opening up to the values and content that have always been most precious to me.”
Cesár says he “didn’t want to stand idly by” and that as a person with “above-average media coverage”, he wanted to be “well informed”.
The Vienna City Council elections are due to take place sometime in October this year. The exact date has not yet been confirmed.
Eurovision stars and politics
Cesár Sampson isn’t the first Eurovision star to get involved in politics, by any means.
Dana Scallon — who won Eurovision 1970 for Ireland — later got involved in politics. She was one of Ireland’s Members of the European Parliament for the Connacht–Ulster constituency from 1999 to 2004. She also twice ran in the Irish presidential election, both times unsuccessful.
Luxembourg’s Eurovision 1963 star Nana Mouskouri was also a Member of the European Parliament, representing her home country Greece. She was in the role from the 1994 election to her resignation in 1999.
Eurovision 2004 winner Ruslana has actively supported various Ukraine political causes and was briefly a member of the Ukraine parliament for the Our Ukraine party in 2006 to 2007.
Ukraine’s Eurovision 2013 singer Zlata Ognevich also has political involvement. In 2014, she was elected to the Ukraine parliament for the Radical Party. However, she was only present for 57% of parliamentary sessions and eventually resigned one year later.
Oleksandr Skichko — one of the co-hosts of Eurovision 2017 — stood for the Ukraine parliament in the 2019 election. As part of the Servant of the People people, he won a seat in the Cherkasy district and currently serves as a People’s Deputy of Ukraine.
Iceland’s 2014 band Pollapönk had a group member who was a politician. Backing singer Óttarr Proppé was a sitting MP at the time and later became the Iceland’s Minister of Health for a short period.
Italy’s Domenico Modugno — well known for representing his country at Eurovision 1958 with “Nel blu dipinto di blu” (aka “Volare”) — has a respected political career. After a stroke in the mid-1980s ended his artistic career, he turned to politics. Standing for the Radical Party, from 1987 to 1990 he was a member of the Chamber of Deputies, then from 1990 to 1992 he was a member of the Senate.
In 2018, Georgia’s debut Eurovision singer Sopho Khalvashi was appointed Deputy Mayor of the city of Batumi — her home town and Georgia’s second-largest city.
Less successful was Bucks Fizz singer Jay Aston. While she was part of the team that gave the UK a Eurovision win in 1981, history didn’t repeat for her at the 2019 UK general election. Jay had stood in the London Kensington constituency, representing the Brexit Party, but picked up only 384 votes, putting her in fifth place.