Fpo scandal heats up european election campaign

Fpo scandal heats up european election campaign

A video trap with huge repercussions: one week before the european elections, the scandal surrounding the right-wing populist fpo led to the breakup of the coalition in austria and massively heated up the election campaign in the eu.

Leftists as well as civic opponents of the right-wing populists see with the fpo also their european partners exposed. These have so far hoped to be the strongest group in the future european parliament. The german afd nevertheless holds on to the alliance and classifies the vienna affair as a "singular affair".

The draw was the publication of a secretly recorded video. It shows how the head of the free party of austria (fpo), heinz-christian strache, promised public contracts to an alleged russian oligarch in 2017 if she helped his party to electoral success, for example by buying and instrumentalizing the newspaper with the highest circulation, the "kronen-zeitung". As a result, chancellor sebastian kurz of the civic austrian people’s party (ovp) announced the coalition with the fpo on saturday.

Now a new parliament is to be elected at the beginning of september, as federal president alexander van der bellen announced on sunday. The country needs to rebuild trust in politics as soon as possible. It is about the well-being of austria and its image in the world. Short said: "the new elections were not a wish, they were a necessity."

The social democratic party (spo) demands that in the transition period the fpo-led ministries be filled with independent experts. This is the only way to ensure "a complete and independent clarification" of the possible legal violations discussed in the video.

Strache had previously resigned as vice chancellor and head of the federal police on saturday. Afterwards, chancellor kurz said that in his talks with the fpo, he did not get the impression that the party was ready for fundamental changes. The fpo is damaging the reform project of his government and the image of the country. "Enough is enough."

What effect this will have on the european elections next sunday remains to be seen. The leading candidate of the civic-conservative EPP party family, CSU politician manfred weber, praised kurz’s decision. He shows with it ruckgrat, wrote weber on twitter. "The EPP stands squarely by its values."The european people’s party includes the CDU, the CSU and the OVP. SPD top candidate katarina barley called the strache case on twitter a warning to all conservatives not to continue working with right-wing populists.

The union once again emphasized its strong opposition to all populists. CDU leader annegret kramp-karrenbauer reaffirmed in newspapers of the funke group her no to cooperation – with the afd as well as the left party. The video shows that right-wing populists everywhere are willing to sell out their country’s interests for their own well-being, she said in cuxhaven. "These people should not be allowed to take responsibility in europe."

SPD leader andrea nahles accused of implausibility. "Just a few weeks ago, the union was also basking in the dubious glow of the conservative-right coalition from austria," she told the "spiegel" magazine. "You can’t rely on the conservatives to take a clear stance against the right-wing."Green" and "left-wing" argued similarly.

And the right-wing populists themselves? You expect to make gains in the european elections starting on thursday. Italy’s interior minister and head of lega, matteo salvini, is preparing to form a right-wing "super group" in the new european parliament. He celebrated the alliance with partners like the afd, the french nationalist marine le pen and the dutch islamophobe geert wilders at a rally in milan on saturday. In front of thousands of enthusiastic supporters, he invoked "a new ara".

The fpo is also on board, but is now in a serious crisis. It is uncertain, however, whether convinced supporters of her partner parties will be impressed by this.

The afd reacted with restraint. After hours of silence, party leader jorg meuthen said in milan he remains committed to the fpo. He will not "fall into the party’s trap" on the basis of a "singular issue". French right-wing populist marine le pen said this was a matter of austrian domestic policy.

German chancellor angela merkel announced decisive resistance. "Nationalism is the enemy of the european project," she said at an election rally in croatia’s capital zagreb.

Tens of thousands saw it similarly on sunday at rough demonstrations, mainly in german, but also in other european big cities. They protested against nationalism and for a united europe. The organizers put the number of participants in germany alone at 150,000. However, police and observers cited much lower numbers than the organizers for some locations. The biggest turnout was apparently in poland, with 20,000 to 45,000 participants.

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