Browsing the archives for the Austria tag.

Haider’s death offers little hope for the fight against the far right

European Politics, International Politics, Politics

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.

Joerg Haider

Joerg Haider

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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End of the Road for Haider

European Politics, Politics

The results after Haider uncharacteristically passed on the left

Shortly after one o’clock on a foggy Saturday morning Jörg Haider, governor (Landeshauptmann) of the Austrian province of Carinthia, lost control of his VW Phaeton on a street in the town of Lambichl, near the provincial capital of Klagenfurt. The car hit the embankment and a concrete fencepost before flipping over. The 58-year old Haider died in the crash. And thus ended the career of one of the most controversial political leaders produced by Austria since the end of the Second World War.

Haider’s death follows by less than two weeks the parliamentary elections in which the party he led, the Alliance for Austria’s Future (BZÖ), captured close to eleven percent of the votes and 21 seats in the 183-seat lower house of parliament. A BZÖ spokesman said that Haider’s death was “like the end of the world for us.”

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