Federal party convention in Graz
With 98 percent of the votes, Norbert Hofer will be the new chairman of the FPÖ. He praises Hungary's prime minister and promotes a sharper asylum policy.
GRAZ taz | Be the strongest party. That is the stated goal of the new FPÖ chairman Norbert Hofer. At the 33rd Federal Congress, which went on Saturday in the Grazer Stadthalle on the stage, but he first campaigned for the continuation of the coalition as junior partner of the ÖVP Sebastian Kurz. Hofer acted as designated party chairman since Heinz-Christian Strache had to resign in May after the infamous Ibiza video. In the polls, the party has since crashed from 26 to around 20 percent. A common majority with the ÖVP should go out, however.
Strache himself, who on the video of a fake Russian oligarch for covert party donations had promised fat state contracts, stayed away from the congress. Hofer did not fail to greet him: “I know about your personal commitment, I know how difficult these hours were for you. I ask for a round of applause. “He relativized the content of the covertly recorded video in a proven manner:” HC Strache has been set a bad trap, by criminals, by crooks. We succeeded in putting the party on the right track again. “Behind the speaker's rostrum was the central slogan used by the FPÖ in the elections of 29 September:” Fair.Social.Heimattreu. We are ready”.
With 98.25 percent of the 801 delegates votes, Hofer received the strong mandate he wished to bring back the party, which had been battered by numerous scandals, to its former strength. In his speech, in which he renounced the manuscript brought, Hofer never tired of praising his party's successes in the failed government. Above all, the fight against political Islam through a sharper asylum policy and consistent deportations.
How far has it been in Austria to prove the fact that in Vienna, the third most popular name is already Mohammed. For the promise “Islam will never be part of our history and culture” it set applause.
He gave Kickl the thigh beaters
The countless “isolated cases” in his party, namely officials who cultivate Nazi nostalgia or attract attention by misanthropic xenophobia, downplayed Hofer by pointing to slips in the ÖVP and SPÖ. Nevertheless, he ensured by a reform of the party statute the right to exclude party members and not only as hitherto board members from the FPÖ.
The political model for Norbert Hofer is Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, whom he had a friendly relationship with and whom he had visited in Budapest a few days ago. “This country is developing very differently,” he praised the conditions in increasingly authoritarian-governed Hungary, where the government controls the media largely. Orbán also showed him “a way that might work”. What it consists of, remained its secret.
Hofer is the friendly face of the FPÖ and nearly three years ago won the German presidential election. Again and again he comes back to these 2.2 million votes, which he could collect in the run-off against Alexander Van der Bellen. That should be the future election goal of his party.
“The ones you do not kneel down, get a right hook from me”
Hofer relinquished hearty bon mots and thigh thumpers, which Herbert Kickl had reliably written in the speeches to his predecessors Strache and Jörg Haider. He left that to Kickl himself, who remains deputy party chairman. Kickl had issued the goal of “zero asylum” as Minister of the Interior. The anger of the coalition partner, he retired, as he attacked the “black cliques” in the Ministry and began to replace them with their own confidants.
Kickl initially countered the rumors of a power struggle between the adjusted Norbert Hofer and his own aggressive line: “We are a patriotic double,” he pointed to Hofer admonished: “those who do not down, get a right hook from me”. In the usual accusatory manner, he warned the estate spokesman, demanded by the SPÖ, “that finance still falls into the death shirt”.
Sebastian Kurz, a “softener”
But even the desired coalition partner ÖVP got his fat off because Sebastian Kurz has already sent out signals to the Greens and Neos and excluded Kickl as the future minister of his government. Short is a “turquoise softener” and you know that you can remove stains with fabric softener. “We will not become a branch of the Sebastian Kurz Adoration Association,” he promised the hooting audience.
Media representatives who had expected a showdown between Hofer and Kickl at the congress were disappointed. The FPÖ has obviously learned from the disaster of Knittelfeld. In 2002, the FPÖ, led by Jörg Haider, split into a government wing and a rebel group. In the subsequent elections, the party crashed from 27 to ten percent.
“We were on the way to becoming the strongest party in Austria. And have failed to ourselves, “said Norbert Hofer in allusion to Ibiza self-critical. But: “Never again will we fail ourselves, that is what I am here for, and that is our goal and our mission”.
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