Joefromchicago was straight on the case here yesterday to comment on the death of Jörg Haider, the charismatic far right leader who has left such an imprint on Austrian politics these last two decades.
Haider was the scourge of Austria, and his self-inflicted death by speeding will not be mourned by many democrats. Unfortunately though, his death does little to stop the renewed momentum for the extreme right in the country.
After suffering an electoral rout in 2002 and a bitter split in 2005, the Austrian far right has demonstrated its resilience, regrouping and coming right back up again to score its best elections result ever earlier this year. And the story of its resurgence offers a sobering lesson for those European democrats who believed that the far right could be defeated through cooptation. It provides a similar reality check for those who were still betting on the far right’s dependency on rare charismatic leaders.
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