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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Racist party makes big gain in Vienna (Austria)

The racist Freedom Party won more than a quarter of the vote in local elections in Vienna on Sunday on the back of a hate-mongering campaign.

With only absentee ballots left to be counted, the Freedom Party won 28 seats in the regional parliament, up from 13.

The 27 per cent it polled was a significant boost from the 14.8 per cent the nazi apologists achieved during the 2005 elections and near its record high of 27.9 per cent in 1996 when the late Joerg Haider led the party.

"With a hand on my heart, I am deeply grateful for the confidence the Viennese have given me and I know what that responsibility means," Freedom Party chief Heinz-Christian Strache gushed after the polls.

Mr Strache has won notoriety for Islamophobic rants at rallies against mosque construction in the city.

He routinely asserts that larger facilities for Muslim worshippers will serve to spread "religious indoctrination."
And the right-wing zealot has whitewashed the nazi-era German army the Wehrmacht as one that "committed crimes like any other army" and downplayed the rising threat of neo-nazi gangs in Europe.
In the past few months the Freedom Party has plastered the Austrian capital with campaign posters that lauded "Vienna blood."

Originally the name of a waltz by Johann Strauss, the slogan has clear white supremacist undertones in today's Austria.

The party also circulated a comic strip that featured a character resembling Mr Strache who urged a young boy to target Kara Mustafa - the grand vizier of the Ottoman empire who led the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 - with his slingshot.

The election was a disappointment for the centre-left Social Democrats who though they won the biggest share of the vote with 44.2 per cent, saw their vote slide nearly five percentage points compared with 2005.

Morning Star