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Focus on far-right in Austrian presidential vote

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Focus on far-right in Austrian presidential vote


Austria is picking its president today.

The outcome of the ballot is in no doubt. The Social Democrat already in the post is set to be re-elected with a landslide. But it is his controversial chief challenger who is the centre of attention.

Far-right politician Barbara Rosenkranz has been nicknamed ‘Reich Mother’ and is known for her anti-European and anti-immigrant views.

A self-described housewife and mother of 10, she has previously called for Austria’s strict anti-Nazi
laws to be repealed.

Rozenkranz is the main rival to incumbent Heinz Fischer, with a third candidate not expected to make an impact on the vote.

A pro-European, Fischer has been slammed by critics as a timid character who avoids conflict and controversy. The 71-year-old former Political Sciences professor was elected to the largely ceremonial post in 2004.

He is seen as winning a second term by a comfortable majority among Austria’s 6.3 million voters. But it is the result of Rosenkranz’s Freedom Party that many will be watching closely. It is thought she could win up to 20 per cent of the vote.

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