Did his friendship with Saddam Hussein spoil triumph of the Austrian Fuhrer?
The results of the of the parliamentary elections in Austria aren’t great surprise on the whole. Unlike in 1999, when Joerg Haider with his Freedom Party rather unexpectedly settled down in the local political Olympus, the results of the parliamentary elections were more or less predictable. The Austrian People’s Party headed by the incumbent Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel and the opposition Austrian Social Democratic Party were the main rivals at the elections. Conservatives from the People’s Party won the elections. According to results of the elections, they won 79 seats in the parliament, the social democrats won 69 seats, the Freedom Party won 19 seats, and the Greens won16 seats.
For the past three years, the party headed by Joerg Haider not only failed to increase its votes, it even lost some (after the 1999 elections, the Freedom Party won 52 seats in the parliament, and the same amount was gained by the conservatives). So, the xenophobes (who are called ultra-nationalists in a politically correct manner) were surely advancing toward today’s defeat. This is not only the problem of the boycott against Haider and his party by other European countries. They lost because of a trivial inter-party squabble and the struggle for power. After the 1999 elections, Joerg Haider retreated into the shadows, but he failed to control his comrades, who turned out not to be ready to take the leading role in the political life of Austria. The situation entailed quite logical results: the Freedom Party is an outsider once again. However, Haider and his team still have a chance to show up: this will be possible if the conservative leader who won the elections, Wolfgang Schuessel, invites them to join a governmental coalition. Representatives of the Freedom Party have already stated that they are ready to continue the coalition with the People’s Party. It seemed that after the scandal that shook Austria since the coalition was formed in 1999, the Conservatives together with Schuessel won’t invited the Freedom Party to the coalition once again. However, not everything is so obvious. Conservatives and Social-democrats have rather great discrepancies in all spheres, from political to social problems. It would be a nice opportunity to create a coalition with the Greens, but the Greens stick to even more radical views than the Social-Democrats. The Freedom Party is more congenial to the Conservatives than the remaining two parties in the parliament. On the other hand, Schuessel wouldn’t like to once again fall out with the European neighbors. And scandals are inevitable (but fortunately they won’t be so large as in 1999) if representatives of the Freedom Party enter the new government. It will take Wolfgang Shuessel much effort and time to explain to his colleagues from other countries why xenophobes, who are currently unpopular in Europe, have once again entered the Austrian government. It is highly paradoxical that, although European government’s don’ welcome Haider’s populism, they themselves are adopting the policies that tare popularized by nationalists. Restrictions on immigration to EU countries is a good example.
Therefore, it is very likely that Haider would be a very respected politician on the European scene if he were more reserved with his admiration for Hitler. He would be even allowed to attack the European Union sometimes. Unfortunately, Joerg Haider is to blame for the problems he is currently experiencing, and only Haider himself will be able to make a comeback Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Photo: Joerg Haider
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2002/5/14/36/3480_austria.html
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