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Austria's rise of the right

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News video: Austria's rise of the rightAustria has been glued to a never-ending story of a highly controversial presidential election campaign since early this year. Voters eliminated the top candidates of the government coalition parties: the social-democrats and the conservatives both failed to cut it. Instead opting for a presidential shoot-out between a green party candidate and Norbert Hofer, the front runner for the far right FPÖ. Judges cancelled the vote because of technical issues. Austria turned into a polarised society: a new poll in December will see an electorate split into equivalent halves. Some 50 percent of voters back the far right candidate – a political earthquake… How has the FPÖ become so popular? Werner Otti is not just the lead singer of the Otti band performing popular beer tent hit songs. For almost two decades, he has been playing at events staged by the populist FPÖ party. Otti arranged the music for the FPÖ anthem. The words are about having “tears of pride” and “not being ashamed” of loving the home-country of Austria. “The refugee question is one of the important reasons for the success of the FPÖ,” Otti told insiders “Because… Well, when I think about my mother: she brought up 15 children. Now she just gets a minimum pension of 450 euros. “But at the same time migrants arrive in the country who never paid into our social welfare system,” he continued. “I don’t speak against asylum seekers in need for protection, being on the run, their life threatened… of course, we should help, that is our duty. “But Austrians living beyond the breadline do not understand. We never were confronted with such problems. We always thought we were living on the Isle of the Blessed. But suddenly, from one year to another, everything changed.” The fear of going to ‘rack and ruin’ Last year, some 10,000 refugees crossed into Austria each day. This changed the political landscape. The anti-migrant line of the FPÖ is copied by mainstream coalition parties. So who are the FPÖ‘s voters – and what’s behind the strong support for the party? “The FPÖ is mostly supported by young men, that’s a phenomenon we’re observing,” explained Alexandra Foderl-Schmid, Editor-in-Chief of the ‘Der Standard’ newspaper. “Elderly people too, those who are afraid, that is one of the main motivations, being afraid of going to rack and ruin. “This fear often concerns people with little or low education, those people being afraid of changes, afraid of globalisation, afraid of refugees, afraid of migrants moving into our country… they are afraid that their chances are minimised.” The EU’s image problem – young activists Gudrun, 22, and Marlene, 18, are members of the FPÖ youth branch. They have get involved in grass-root activities – such as going door-to-door in difficult and deprived neighbourhoods – spreading and sharing their europhobic views. “I see the EU as more of a dictatorship than what it should be,” said Gudrun. “The European U

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