chapter  4
6 Pages

Who the Hell is Jörg Haider?

ByJohn Bunzl

The origins of the Austria Freedom Party (FPO) can be found in the German-nationalist "Third Camp" of Austrian politics, which became entirely absorbed by the Nazi party before 1938. While the traditional parties dealt with resulting problems according to socioeconomic criteria, the FPO added an ethnic component. Jorg Haider once claimed that the FPO was not the successor to the Nazi party: "If it were so it would have an absolute majority". Although Haider has caused massive public irritation and much has been written on him, information and analyses are still schematic and superficial. In the case of Mr. Haider we find two kinds of simplifications: inside Austria he is treated more and more as a successful, "normal," right-wing bourgeois politician who can be dealt with like any other legitimate candidate for participation in government, while outside Austria he is considered beyond the pale because of his remarks that are perceived as neo-Nazi.