Has the FPÖ gone too far to the right?

In the first provincial parliament elections to take place since the ÖVP-FPÖ government took over in Austria, the right-wing populist FPÖ saw its share of the vote rise - despite a scandal in which its leading candidate Udo Landbauer allegedly sung songs glorifying the Nazis as a member of an academic fraternity. While some journalists are appalled, others take a more positive view, noting that at least the FPÖ wasn't able to celebrate a major triumph.

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Der Standard (AT) /

15 percent have no problem with Nazi nostalgia

Der Standard finds it alarming that the Landbauer scandal had so little impact on voter behaviour:

“It has to make you stop and think when so many citizens aren't put off by a leading candidate who more or less openly flirts with Nazi nostalgia, and vote for a party that hasn't managed to credibly distance itself from anti-Semitism and national socialist ideology. The FPÖ wasn't able to exploit its full potential on Sunday, but with or despite Landbauer it won 15 percent, meaning that it will be sitting in the next provincial government.”

Die Presse (AT) /

The far right is too far right for Austrians

The fact that the FPÖ failed to fulfil its own expectations regarding its share of the vote in Lower Austria should come as a wake-up call for the party, Die Presse counters:

“Of course one can philosophise about how 15 percent of the population can vote for a party whose lead candidate belongs to a fraternity which just a few years ago printed songbooks containing offensive passages that extolled the Nazis and the Holocaust. But now [FPÖ leader] Heinz-Christian Strache has finally grasped what Jörg Haider also understood: when the FPÖ moves too close to the Nazi extremists it loses votes. And in the case at hand this prevented it from making any further gains. On Sunday Udo Landbauer prevented a small FPÖ victory which the new government team would have so liked to celebrate.”