Haider poll victory shakes Austria

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The Independent Online
THE VICTORY by Austria's far-right Freedom Party may force Chancellor Viktor Klima's coalition to soften support for European Union expansion, observers said yesterday.

The nationalist party of Jorg Haider, who has been branded a crypto-Nazi, on Sunday scored its biggest electoral success by winning 42 per cent of the vote in Carinthia. Mr Haider had been forced to resign as governor of the province in 1991 after praising Hitler's employment policies.

Mr Haider's victory means the two main political parties can no longer shun him. The European Parliament election is in June and a national election in October, and protest votes could further inflate the Freedom Party's support.

His re-election as governor needs support by two-thirds of Carinthia's parliamentary members.