Friday, October 03, 2008

Lying near a sea of blue and a lush forest is the European country that holds out against the might which is Brussels

The elections in Austria have gone the wrong way.

That's the trouble with democracy, it lets people who aren't experts or professionals decide things. Things more important than breakfast cereals and radio stations, that is.

As long as good, decent, ordinary people must cower under the bed in fear of being called racists, change is impossible. Muslim immigrants will continue to pour into Europe, the freedom of European citizens will be further eroded, and the possibility of a non-violent solution to the crisis decreases every day.

General elections this past Sunday changed Austria’s political landscape with a pull to the right.

The Social Democrats lost votes, and the Conservatives lost even more. Both can no longer be considered “forces” in the political spectrum; they are, at best, mediocre in size (29% and 25%, respectively). The Green Party has withered into irrelevance. On Sunday, party leader Alexander Van der Bellen proudly announced that he considers the Greens the last Gallic village in Austria with regard to upholding human rights (he was alluding to Asterix, the famous comic series).


The winners on this historic day were, however, the FPÖ (Freedom Party) and BZÖ (Haider’s “new” party), which together make up the right-wing parties. Heinz-Christian Strache was able to increase the number of his voters from 11% to 18%, while Haider tripled his support to 11%. And while the center-left parties pretended to be stunned, political commentators and many others were not surprised: the parties’ success had been looming for the last couple of weeks. Polls were in complete agreement about the outcome. Together FPÖ and BZÖ gathered nearly 30% of the votes.

FPO platform:

* No accession of Turkey into the European Union
* No intrusion of EU policy in Austria
* No increase in the Austrian contribution to the EU
* Restrict Austrian citizenship law
* Stop the misuse of the asylum system

a bit of history:
In the 1999 general election, the FPÖ received 27% of the votes, more than in any election before.

Naturally, because "the right" had won a huge electoral success with the voters, it could not be allowed to stand.

In early 2000, the FPÖ joined a coalition government with Wolfgang Schüssel's People's Party. The Freedom Party had to take a junior part in the coalition, as otherwise the ÖVP would have continued their coalition with the SPÖ. There was a great degree of outrage both within the country and internationally. The heads of government of the other 14 EU members decided to cease cooperation with the Austrian government, as it was felt in many countries that the cordon sanitaire against coalitions with parties considered as right-wing extremists, which had mostly held in Western Europe since 1945, had been breached.

And how do we know the parties in question are on the "far-right"?

Well, how do we know anything?

That's correct. Because the BBC says so.

The rise in support for the far-right parties is the result of protest votes on a variety of issues, the BBC's Bethany Bell in Vienna says.

The resurgent far-right can be attributed to a mixture of anti-European Union sentiment, some anti-immigrant positions and a general sense of discontent with the two traditional centrist parties, our correspondent says.

The far-right showing was even stronger than in 1999, when the Freedom Party won 27% and gained a place in the coalition government with the conservatives.

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