Far-right loses power in Austria local polls

Far-right loses power in Austria local polls

VIENNA - Agence France-Presse
Far-right loses power in Austria local polls

Freedom Pary leader calls the results ‘personally very disappointing. REUTERS photo

Austria’s far-right has lost power in its late leader Joerg Haider’s stronghold of Carinthia after a drubbing in a state election, five years after the charismatic figure’s drink-driving death.

Following a string of corruption cases, the far-right Freedom Party saw its share of the vote in Carinthia more than halve to around 17.1 percent from 44.9 percent at the last election in 2009, final results showed.

The Freedom Party also saw its score fall two percentage points in Lower Austria to 8.5 percent, relegating it to fourth place.

Heinz-Christian Strache, the national leader of the Freedom Party who is hoping for a repeat of Haider’s 2000 triumph in upcoming federal polls, called the result in Carinthia “personally very disappointing.”

“If Carinthia is run by a Social Democrat then he will bring to Carinthia all the asylum cheats,” the 43-year-old told a party rally in the state capital Klagenfurt, saying the left-wing wanted to “spit into (Haider’s) grave.”

Haider sent shockwaves through Europe in 2000 when his far-right party became part of the Austrian federal government.