Reversal of Fortune

GERT EGGENBURGER/AP

ON SECOND THOUGHT: Haider said threats of violence made him forgo a leadership bid

The volatile Jörg Haider has always regarded his far-right Freedom Party as a kind of personal possession. It's natural, then, that he should have triggered its near demise. In a dizzying two weeks, the self-styled puppet master of Austrian politics split with his party's top government ministers, broke up the ruling coalition, announced his intention to seek a return to the leadership in early elections expected in November — and then abruptly changed his mind. Appearing last week on Austrian TV, Haider claimed he had been approached and threatened outside a restaurant in Klagenfurt. Invoking the name of murdered Dutch politician...

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