VIENNA – Could the FPÖ make a comeback by re-branding?

After a series of corruption scandals since May 2018, which culminated into the collapse of the ÖVP-FPÖ coalition led by still-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the right-wing populist party held a meeting to kick-start the party’s rebranding process on Wednesday (8 January).

But could the scandal-ridden party still become a “modern right-wing conservative party”, as announced by party leader Norbert Hofer?

Between the elections of Kurz’s first government in 2017 and his second one in 2019, the right-wing populist party lost its role in Kurz’s first governing coalition, its charismatic leader Heinz-Christian Strache, and 10% of the vote.

As a first step towards ‘becoming more modern’, the party’s two secretaries-general, Christian Hafenecker and Harald Vilimsky, who filled that role for 14 years, have stepped down. Although replacements have not yet been named, Hofer announced that, in an attempt to avoid future scandals, his party would implement the strictest compliance rules of all Austrian parties.

(Philipp Grüll |


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