Facelift for Austrian Fascists

Austria’s right-wing party FPO, part of the coalition government together with the conservative OVP, is preparing for its annual party congress next Sunday, at which the party will seek to present the image of a respectable political organisation.

After two years in a coalition government with the conservatives, Jorg Haider, who was forced to stand down as party leader after months of sanctions imposed by the European Union, wants to prepare the next phase, namely a cosmetic face-life for his party, which expounds xenophobic and racist doctrines.

FPO president Susanne Riess-Passer is expected to be reconfirmed as the party’s leader in the run-in to the October 2003 elections as the party presents the image of an acceptable and moderate political formation whose main aim now is to overtake their Conservative partners in the coalition government, the OVP, led by Wolfgang Schuessel.

The latest opinion polls place the OVP in first place with 28% and Haider’s FPO second, with 23% of the vote.


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