An anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim party won the Austrian elections on Sunday, and its leader might form a government with a party founded by ex-Nazis. So much for the hopes of spring that election results in the Netherlands and France hinted that the political tide in Europe had turned away from the far right. Last month, Alternative for Germany became the first far-right party to enter Germany’s Parliament since World War II, winning 13 percent of the vote and 94 parliamentary seats.
In Austria, the leader of the victorious People’s Party, Sebastian Kurz, 31, has tried to put a fresh, young face on his stodgy conservative party, changing its traditional black color to a trendy turquoise. But there’s nothing forward-looking about his platform, which taps into the fears that the 90,000 migrants Austria took in from 2015 to 2016 are siphoning away social benefits from hard-working Austrians, and that Muslims pose a cultural and security threat.
And according to preliminary results, the Freedom Party, founded by ex-Nazis in the 1950s, was in a race for second, with about 26 percent of the vote, to the People’s Party’s more than 31 percent. A coalition government of the two parties could be in the cards.