Freedom Party Wins In Austria

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The far-right Freedom Party has secured the key posts of foreign, interior and defense in Austria’s new coalition government for its nominees.

Governing with the conservative People’s Party, the move makes Austria the only country in Western Europe to have a far-right party in power.

Austria’s president approved the new coalition on Saturday, two months after inconclusive elections.

People’s Party leader Sebastian Kurz, 31, will be Austria’s new chancellor.

He will become the world’s youngest head of government.

Introducing the new government, and the 180-page document setting out its agenda, Mr Kurz said the two parties had agreed “on a clear pro-European outlook”.

Although it is the junior coalition partner, the anti-immigration Freedom Party has secured several key posts in the new cabinet.

Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache will be vice-chancellor. His party colleagues will run the interior, defence and health and social security ministries.

Mr Kurz’s People Party won 32% of the vote in October’s elections, securing the largest number of seats (62) in the 183-seat national council.

The Freedom Party came third, securing 26% of the vote and 51 seats.

Unlike most of Europe’s populist parties, the Freedom Party, a major player in Austria for years, has managed to translate its success at the ballot box into real political power.

While the two parties have yet to unveil the details of the coalition agreement, some of the key points that will shape the next government have already been discussed: among them is a further crackdown on migration

“We want to reduce the burden on taxpayers … and above all we want to ensure greater security in our country, including through the fight against illegal immigration,” Kurz said.

The police and the security apparatus are now all firmly in the hands of the Freedom Party.

And so,  institutionalized opposition to Europe’s liberal “open door” policies on migrants is no longer restricted to the EU’s eastern territories. Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with their own conservative governments, remain staunchly opposed to the EU relocation scheme and refuse to take in a single refugee. Now, with Austria joining the “resistance”, the anti-migrant wave has officially broken into central Europe.

 

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Published in: on December 18, 2017 at 1:32 am  Leave a Comment  

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