Socialist Worker

Nazi Norbert Hofer could win Austrian presidency in election re-run

As Austria’s rulers make peace with the fascists ahead of a presidential election, only militant opposition on the streets will push back the threat

Issue No. 2532

Up to 5,000 protested in support of refugees in Austria’s capital Vienna

Up to 5,000 protested in support of refugees in Austria’s capital Vienna (Pic: Neue Linkswende)


Fascist norbert Hofer was favourite to win in the re-run of the Austrian presidential election this Sunday,

The Freedom Party (FPO) candidate narrowly lost by a few thousand votes in May.

But Hofer successfully appealed for a re-run over the way in which postal votes had been counted.

It was then postponed due to problems with ballot envelopes.This helped Hofer position himself as the “anti-establishment” candidate.

In reality the ruling class was preparing to make peace with him. Labour-type social democrat chancellor Christian Kern made his peace with FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache on live television last week.

He said his party would work with the FPO from now on.

Hofer’s campaign was saturated with racism against Muslims and migrants. His party was set up by a former Nazi minister and SS officer, and maintains a hard Nazi core.

But the Tory and Social Democratic Party coalition government has played into its racism. It has taken the lead in the clampdown against refugees in Europe.

Up to 5,000 people joined a protest against a surge of deportations of refugees in the capital Vienna last Saturday.

Deported

David Albrich, a leading member of revolutionary socialist organisation Neue Linkswende, told Socialist Worker, “The government has deported hundreds of refugees to Croatia and other countries in recent weeks.

“Police are pulling refugee children and youth out of schools by force, and taking seriously ill people out of hospitals and pushing them into aeroplanes.”

If Hofer wins, it will strengthen the FPO’s position to win parliamentary elections and form a government.

It will help it build a movement that could one day create a genuine fascist regime.

But the FPO faces opposition—including a “Fuck Hofer” protest set to take place the day before the election and others planned afterwards if he wins.

Hofer’s challenger, Green Party-backed Alexander Van der Bellen, has focused on getting support for the “centre” against the “extremes”.

But it is the rotten centre that has fuelled racism and allowed the facsists to pose as an alternative.

David said, “Even some on the radical left follow this disastrous mistake.

“They argue against confrontation and protests as it would guarantee Hofer’s success.

“We need to answer with a broad and militant offensive against the fascists.”


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