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Austrian elections: Austrian far-right are the real winners

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NYT reports:

The country’s two mainstream parties suffered significant losses, though they received the most votes and could rebuild their fractious, unpopular coalition. The Social Democratic Party led the voting with 30 percent, followed by the conservative People’s Party with 26 percent; they slipped by roughly 6 percentage points for the Social Democrats and 9 percentage points for the People’s Party.

But by far the most notable result was the success of the far-right parties. The Freedom Party, which is led by Heinz-Christian Strache, won 18 percent of the vote, a gain of 7 percentage points. The Alliance for Austria’s Future, led by Jörg Haider, a longtime Freedom Party leader who broke away and formed the new party in 2005, got 11 percent, nearly tripling its result in the last vote two years ago.

Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments have been powerful forces in European politics in recent years, and rising discontent over globalization and higher prices has helped fuel populist sentiment, benefiting right-wing groups that place the blame for economic woes squarely on immigrants and foreign competition.

Mr. Strache, a former dental technician, has called for a halt to immigration and a reclamation of some of the sovereign powers handed over to the European Union. For Mr. Haider, his party’s strong gains – and victory with almost 40 percent of the vote in the province of Carinthia, where he is governor – seal a political comeback since his departure from the Freedom Party.

There is no love lost between the erstwhile allies, which would make any coalition including both of the far-right parties more difficult to form. Mr. Haider, in particular, tried to adopt a more moderate line in this campaign than in the past.

The President of the Austrian Popular Party has resigned after the results.

A look to other media:

Measures against illegal immigration, against uncontrolled growth of Government and against islamification weren’t taken by the normal parties because they feared accusations of “racism“. Well, each day that elapses without appopriate measures being taken, we are nearer a real resurrection of the far-right/Neo-Nazi parties gaining power. And some want to make the rest choose between these ones and the Islamists…

Fear makes real the feared thing“, economists say.

Mark has written a very good post on the subject.

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