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Far-right party wins EU elections in Austria

The Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), known for its far-right views, emerged victorious in the country's European Parliament (EP) elections, securing 25.5% of the vote. As the preliminary results for the 720 lawmakers elected by voters across the 27 EU countries were still being tallied on Monday, this outcome was confirmed.

Anadolu Agency DIPLOMACY
Published June 10,2024

The far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) won the European Parliament (EP) elections in the country with 25.5% of the vote, as preliminary results for the 720 lawmakers elected by voters in the 27 EU countries continued to come in on Monday.

This is the first time that the FPO has emerged as the strongest force in the country.

The conservative Austrian People's Party (OVP) came in second with 24.7% of the vote, ahead of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPO) with 23.3% and the Green Alternative with 10.9%. The liberals from the New Austria and Liberal Forum (NEOS) finished fifth with 10.1%.

An election motive survey conducted by the public broadcaster ORF shows that the anti-immigration FPO has succeeded in turning the EU election into a protest vote.

In the election motive survey, 62% of FPO voters stated that they "wanted to make a statement on domestic policy."

According to a voter flow analysis conducted by the Austrian institute Foresight, the FPO received the majority of its new votes from the ruling party OVP, led by Chancellor Karl Nehammer.

Analyses conducted in 2024 show that 221,000 of the 1.3 million voters who supported the OVP in the last EU elections in 2019, this time supported the FPO.

"The first step has been taken," FPO Chairman Herbert Kickl told media representatives at the party's election office in Vienna on Sunday.

"The next step is the Federal Chancellery," he said.

Kickl said a new era is dawning in politics, with the focus shifting away from an "aloof systemic elite" and toward the people.

The OVP's lead candidate for the EU elections, Reinhold Lopatka, described the defeat as "bitter" to media representatives at the party's headquarters in Vienna on Sunday.

However, he said it is "also a mandate" to "make up for lost ground" with the FPO. Despite the defeat, he spoke of "a good basis for the parliamentary elections" scheduled for the fall of 2024.

The anti-immigrant FPO has made numerous headlines in recent years because of its ties to National Socialist ideas.

At the beginning of Jan. 2022, one of the party's top candidates for the local council in Waidhofen, Lower Austria, said in an interview that the last book he had read was Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf."

In an interview in Jan. 2023, Lower Austrian FPO regional chairman Udo Landbauer responded to a question about human rights: "I would defend the rights of my fellow citizens. What exactly constitutes a human right? I distinguish between citizens and non-citizens."