Racist party in the Austrian government

12 April 2000

On January 21, 2000, 110 days after the Austrian general election on October 3, 1999, coalition talks between the two major centre parties Austrian Social Democratic Party and the Austrian People’s Party collapsed and Austrian President Thomas Klestil asked the heads of the Austrian People’s Party and racist Freedom Party of Austria to form a government. Freedom Party leader Jörg Haider, so controversial that he is not represented in the government, has made anti-Romani statements in the past. In the wake of a bomb attack in the Austrian town of Oberwart which killed four Romani men, Haider made comments implying that the Romani men might have been involved in activity which led to the bombing. (See ERRC country report Divide and Deport: Roma and Sinti in Austria). During parliamentary debate following the bombing, he additionally referred to World War II concentration camps as “prison camps”. The Freedom Party ran their 1999 electoral campaign on generally anti-foreigner and anti-immigration themes.



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