Haider suffers yet another set-back

Support for Austria’s far-right Freedom Party suffers setback in Viennese local elections

The widely criticised Austrian Freedom Party has suffered a substantial setback in the Viennese local elections. Results show support for the party widely accused of being racist and anti-semitic, having slipped by 8 percent to 20.3 percent since the 1996 Vienna election. The Social Democrats seem to be the big winners with their party's support jumping from 39.2% five years ago to 47%.

The election was seen by many as the biggest test for the Freedom Party and its charismatic figurehead Joerg Haider since it joined the government 13 months ago. It had already suffered two embarrassing election defeats in the provinces of Burgenland and Styria late last year.

The Freedom Party and its coalition partner in the national government, the conservative Peoples Party, have been anxious to downplay the implications for the national government and have vowed to continue work as usual.

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