Austrian rift

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Vienna - Austria's ruling coalition showed signs of strain ahead of the 9 October general election, with polls showing the far right nipping at its heels. Public squabbling between the Social Democrats and People's Party conservatives in the closing days of the campaign posed a question mark over their eight-year partnership. The Social Democrat Chancellor, Franz Vranitzky, sprung to the defence of his Interior Minister, Franz Loeschnak, under conservative fire over a wave of letter bombs believed sent by neo-Nazi activists. Reuter