The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320


March 21, 2005

Everything is possible

Austria's right-wing Freedom Party, well-known abroad through its former party leader and political enfant terrible Jörg Haider, seems to be on the verge of falling apart. After disastrous losses in recent communal elections, the party's current leaders, which are of the more moderate wing (and include Haider's sister, who is the current party leader), and surprisingly Haider himself tried to get rid of some of the more outspoken rightwingers, which led to some serious infighting. Now some of the rightwingers are refusing to back down, some party members want Jörg Haider back as party leader, and some want him gone forever. There has been talk that the party was to be dissolved and re-founded, but then Haider changed his mind again. There is also talk that the party might split into up to three new parties. It is a truly strange spectacle.

One of the party's politicians who backed down when the right wing was disempowered was the leader of the party's Vienna branch, Heinz Christian Strache, formerly seen as one of the party's up-and-coming talents, who has also been called "the new Haider". Interestingly, within only two days after backing down, Strache appeared on posters all over the city, on which he proclaimed that "Wien darf nicht Istanbul werden" (Vienna must not become Istanbul) — a fairly explicit message against Turkish immigrants and a continuation of the party's strong anti-foreigner stance.

How I am becoming taboo

More interestingly, even though the poster campaign has been met with fierce criticism by both the liberal media and the liberal public (on the picture above you see a poster on which someone has changed the slogan to "How I am becoming taboo"), Strache is now suddenly back in the race for Freedom Party leadership.

It's impossible to see where the party that changed the Austrian political landscape since 1986 more than any other is heading — it could be descending into chaos, become even more like its coalition partner, the Conservative People's Party, or it could switch back into a strong right-wing course. It will also be interesting how the voters will respond to this in the parliamentary elections next year. As the slogan for the Austrian national lottery says: "Alles ist möglich" (everything is possible).

Posted by Horst on March 21, 2005 12:06 AM to news of the world | Tell-a-friend
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Comments
laura said on March 21, 2005 06:40 AM:

To misquote Robert Duvall: "I love the smell of fascists self-destructing in the morning!"

Monika said on March 21, 2005 06:12 PM:

seems that Chicago has become obsolete as an enemy...

pinkNgreen said on March 21, 2005 06:55 PM:

I have also seen this slogan changed to "Wien darf nicht Kärnten werden". ;-)

Carlos said on March 21, 2005 10:53 PM:

"Er sagt was wir denken" I have heard that too much in The Netherlands with the rise (and fall) of Pim Fortuyn. And actually it should be "Wir denken wass er sagt...".

dieter said on March 21, 2005 11:27 PM:

I have already considered suing them for claiming that I am stupid enough to think what he says about migration.

laura said on March 22, 2005 06:19 PM:

Once again, a student has shot up an American school, saying he wanted to celebrate Hitler's birthday just as the Columbine High School killers did. Let's hope the extreme right wing will disintegrate here, too.

Horst said on March 22, 2005 10:06 PM:

Hitler's birthday is still a month away. But then on half the neo-Nazi graffiti the swastikas are drawn the wrong way round as well.

Still, the intelligent rightwingers (those who don't run amok) are more dangerous, because they keep the stupid ones on a constant diet of ideology and hatred.

T said on April 1, 2005 10:00 PM:

I read about this in a Turkish newspaper. As a Turk I cannot believe my eyes. Mr Ubermensch made me feel like an african american in southern USA in 1960's...

recently a friend of mine here in america said racism is still an issue in Europe compared to the minor "racial understanding" issues in America... I guess he was right. how can such a billboard ad even appear?

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