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Far Right gains ground in Austria as election looms

 Far Right gains ground in Austria as election looms
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In Austria, where the collapse of the ruling coalition has prompted an early election this weekend, it is feared any hope of political stability could be threatened by growing support for the Far Right.

The Social Democrats and the Conservatives are far from reconciled, and the Far Right’s Heinz-Christian Strache and Joerg Haider could end up being kingmakers.

One woman in Vienna said: “Strache is too extreme in my view. He is pure populist. I don’t like that. I don’t take him seriously at all.”

Another added: “It is pretty worrying that Strache is getting a lot of support, yet I don’t want to see a return of the grand coalition.”

Strache’s Freedom Party and Joerg Haider’s Alliance for the Future of Austria could get 27 per cent of the vote, up 10 per cent on the 2006 result.

Analysts put the trend down to a politics of fear.

In a bid to avoid another unwieldy coalition all parties have stepped up their courting of the young. Sixteen-year-olds now have the vote in Austria.