Austria: The Past's Long Shadow

The Past's Long Shadow

"An unacceptable shift," snapped Socialist Chancellor Franz Vranitzky. He was referring to an abrupt rightward lurch by his conservative coalition partner, Austria's Freedom Party, which had just elected Jorg Haider, 36, as party chairman. With that, Vranitzky called for snap elections in November. ,

The tiny Freedom Party has long counted ex-Nazis among its ranks. Last week, however, party liberals found themselves outnumbered and outgunned by an ultraconservative, xenophobic "national" wing that is nostalgic about the Nazi era. Vranitzky apparently found early elections less risky than a partnership with Haider.

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