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Thousands mourn Austrian far-right leader

Thousands mourn Austrian far-right leader
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Far-right Austrian politician Jorg Haider, who died in a car crash last week while drunk, has been remembered at a ceremony in his province of Corinthia. The memorial service for the controversial leader drew an estimated 25,000 people to Klagenfurt, the capital of Corinthia, where Haider has been governor for most of the past 19 years.

Among the mourners were his wife and two daughters, as well as top political leaders, including outgoing chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, who paid hommage to Haider. “Today, beyond political camps and differences, one should pay respect and tribute to Jorg Haider,” he said, further addressing the man directly: “You wished for a lot, you didn’t achieve it all but much of it, and many many people thank you.”

Probably Austria’s best-known leader, the charismatic populist hit the headlines in the late 1990s when he praised Adolf Hitler’s social policies -in comments which forced him to resign during his first term as governor.

His death comes as political wrangling continues in Austria following a general election which saw no outright victory for any bloc, but gave his newly formed Alliance for the Future of Austria significant gains.

His family plans to hold a private funeral to prevent neo-Nazis turning any public burial into a pilgrimage of hate.