Austria\'s Far-Right Unveils Candidate for Vienna Polls

Published January 21st, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Austria's far-right Freedom Party introduced at a party conference Sunday its candidate to lead the party in Vienna's upcoming municipal elections, a retired judge known for her hard line on immigration. 

Helene Partik-Pable, a veteran party deputy who replaced a scandal-ridden local leader as the party's candidate for the March elections, immediately locked on to some of the party's common themes. 

The proposed city coalition between the Social Democratic and Green parties "will mean a lack of control on drug use, more immigration and more pressure on people with different political opinions," she told the conference, vowing to battle the proposed initiative. 

The 61-year-old replaces the controversial and vehemently anti-immigrant Hilmar Kabas, but the former judge brings her own radical baggage to the job. 

She provoked particular outrage in 1999 over her comments on black Africans following the death of a Nigerian immigrant while in the custody of Austrian police. 

Partik-Pable also has called for immigrants to carry special identity cards which flag them as foreigners. 

Support for the Freedom Party in Vienna has dropped by some nine to 10 percent since the last municipal elections in 1996, cutting Partik-Pable's work out for her. 

After two miserable performances in regional elections since entering government last February, the party is keen not to see a repeat at these ballots, the last key polls before the next legislative elections. 

The Freedom Party had gathered for a New Year's meeting in the suburbs of the capital under the slogan "Invigoration for Austria". Far-right leader Joerg Haider had also attended the event. 

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the building to show their hostility to a party known for its anti-immigrant stance. Around 900 police had been deployed to ensure that scuffles did not break out -- VIENNA (AFP) 

 

 

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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