Or FPÖ. The political party of right-wing populist Jörg Haider. Currently ruling Austria in coalition with the ÖVP, the Austrian peoples party.

The Austrian freedom party is founded after the second World War as "Verband der Unabhängigen" (Independent Coalition). It targets the votes of former Nazi-Sympathizers and other far-right conservatives. In 1953, an attempt to let them participate in the Government made by the leader of the Austrian Peoples Party Julius Raab is vetoed by President Theodore Körner. 3 years later the VdU is officially dissolved and the freedom party is founded.

In the following period the FPÖ regularly gets about 4-6 percent of the votes and is the third party represented in parliament. The party splits in a national-orientated and a rather liberal wing.

1983 the FPÖ enters in a coalition with the social democrats (SPÖ) under the rule of party leader Norbert Steger. Steger is a not-too-extremist right-wing politican but lacks charisma and looses control over the party quickly. In 1986, he is succeeded by the young lawyer Jörg Haider, who previously had made himself known for his sympathetical remarks about the 3rd Reich and Anti-immigrantion slogans. His come to power leads to the end of the coalition, and the following elections are an overwhelming success for the freedom party.

In 1989, Haider is elected Governor of Carinthia, but is forced to resign in 1991 for saying that the Nazis had had a "proper employment policy". The FPÖ nevertheless has a glorious victory in the 1990 election.
1993, most of the liberal wing of the freedom party splits and forms the "Liberales Forum" after Haider had iniciated an Anti-Immigration referendum.

At an all-time high in the midth of the nineties, the freedom party conveniently mixes Anti-Immigration pledges and the promise for social justice to a populist mixture that attracts lots of unsatisfied and/or young voters

After the party has reached 27% of all votes in 1999 federal elections they form a coalition with the People's Party that rules till 2002. Their participation sparkes sanctions by the EU, who is concerned with the fascist tendencies of the FPÖ. The freedom party indeed makes a very unfortunate picture as in the following two years four of their ministers resign and the party doesn't seem to have a clue what they are doing. Jörg Haider had already retreated to Carinthia in 2000 and frequently interfered in party politics. That causes a major fight and an implosion of the party in the summer of 2002 and collapses the Government. In the following elections on november 24, 2002, the FPÖ suffers the greates loss of votes in the history of the republic and can no longer be seen as the threat is was.

Noung says re Freedom Party: Could you root out and post some of the comments Haider made which were "sympathetic to the 3rd reich"?

He was often quoted for saying that the employment policies of the 3rd Reich where "proper", but he had quite a bit more controversial statments:

  • He is also known for calling the Waffen-SS "good fellows" and contradicting the Nürnberg Processes, in which the SS got the status of a criminal organization
  • He also claimed in an interview that the german "Wehrmacht" actually is responsible for peace and democracy in Europe (sic!). He explained that claim in saying that the Wehrmacht was the only one to resist the Soviet Union.

Many more Jörg Haider quotes can be found at
http://hinfo.brinkster.net/neu/content.asp?persID=1&von=Haider (in german, though)

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