Austria's far right woos voters with restrictive migration policies

15.09.2017

The Freedom Party (FPOe) aims to enter Austria's next cabinet with plans to fight Islamists and to cut welfare for migrants, the far-right movement made clear on Wednesday as it unveiled its platform for the October parliamentary election.

There was no need to include refugees into Austrian society, as they should return home once their countries are safe again, FPOe deputy chief Norbert Hofer told a press conference in Vienna.

"I don't understand why there are efforts to integrate them," the opposition politician said.

Led by Heinz-Christian Strache, the FPOe has a chance of forming a cabinet with the Social Democrats (SPOe) or the conservative People's Party (OeVP) after the October 15 vote, as neither of these two centrist parties rule out a coalition with the far right.

The FPOe platform, titled "100 FPOe Demands," also includes calls to pay welfare to immigrants only after five years of residence and to fight radical Islam.

In addition, Austria should consider whether to replace the European Convention on Human Rights with a national charter of fundamental rights.

Like the FPOe, the OeVP also pushes for welfare cuts for immigrants and to curb migrant arrivals.

SPOe and OeVP have formed coalitions for the past decade, but they have become increasingly estranged over the years, triggering a call for early elections.

Led by Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, the OeVP has been leading polls with 33 percent, while Chancellor Christian Kern's SPOe and the FPOe are competing for second place with around 25 percent supporting each.    (dpa)

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