On the Ballot
Party: Freedom Party
Leader: Heinz-Christian Strache
Key issues: Euroskepticism, immigration, cultural identity
Seats in parliament: 34/245
The Freedom Party joined Austria's coalition government in 2000 and has become a powerful force in the country. In the 2010 state elections, the party garnered 25.77% of the vote, coming in second to the Social Democratic Party and doubling its seats in parliament. By March 2011, the Freedom Party had an approval rating of 29%, putting it neck-and-neck with the country's two other major parties. Its photogenic young leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, notoriously called women in burqas "female ninjas" in 2008 and has promised to cut off funds for "bankrupt E.U. countries" if he is elected chancellor.
Party: Alliance for the Future of Austria
Leader: Josef Bucher
Key issues: free markets, privatization, Atlanticism
Seats in parliament: 21/245
The economically liberal Alliance focuses less on hot-button cultural issues than does the Freedom Party, and is more moderate regarding immigration and the E.U. In the 2010 elections, the party claimed only 1.3% of the vote.
On the Fringe
Volkstreue Ausserparlamentarische Opposition Founded in 1986, the party was banned by the Austrian government in the 1990s. Its former leader, Gottfried Kuessel, was arrested in April 2011 for allegedly running a pro-Nazi website and is awaiting trial.