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Austria

Yearbook 2005

Austria.The right-wing populist party "the freedom", FP (Freiheitliche Partei sterreichs), was divided during the year. The internal contradictions were great and the party had lost voters in a long line of local and regional elections. In April, FP's founder Jrg Haider announced that he was leaving the party to form a new one: the Federation for the Future of Austria (Bndnis Zukun sterreich, BZ). According to countryaah, FP's three ministers and most of its MPs followed Haider, as did party leader Ursula Haubner, who is his sister. The new party was launched as more center-oriented than the xenophobic FP. Haider was unanimously elected party chairman for the new party, while those who stayed in FP elected Heinz-Christian Strache as new leader.

2005 Austria

It thus looked as if BZ would take over FP's role in Austrian politics. But when regional elections were held during the autumn, the new BZ received only a few percent and no mandate. The party was thus in principle calculated for the 2006 parliamentary elections. FP, on the other hand, unexpectedly got close to 15% in the election in Vienna in October. The success was largely due to aggressive propaganda against Turkish membership in the EU.

The elections in Vienna were held in October, a few weeks after Austria made a big fuss in the EU ahead of the planned membership negotiations with Turkey. Austria had long defied other Union members and insisted that the Turks should be offered a "privileged partnership" instead of membership. Eventually, the Austrians were forced to give in, but not unless Croatia was also allowed to start its membership negotiations.

In September, nine German tourists, including six children, were killed in a cable car accident in Slden. The accident occurred when a concrete block fell from a helicopter so that a carriage crashed to the ground and two carriages swayed so violently that passengers fell out. Seven people were seriously injured.

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