In the fall of 2015, the international news was flooded with pictures of an Austrian train station where volunteers welcomed refugees with food, clothing and games for children. Almost a year later, the train station now welcomes commuters and tourists. Media coverage focuses on a growing anti-immigration political movement poised to take another crack at the Austrian presidency. At a quiet park in Vienna, Jesse de Pagter, a 23-year-old philosophy student from the Netherlands, said the outpouring of sympathy for refugees may have been a catalyst for an outpouring of intolerance. “It may have been the positive image that made the contrary true,” he said. “It’s an image of a divided country.” On Friday, an Austrian court canceled the results of the country’s May presidential elections, citing widespread rule breaking. The re-vote, scheduled for the fall, essentially gives Austria’s Freedom Party candidate, Norbert Hofer, another chance at becoming the European Union’s first far-right head of state.
In central Vienna, a city that has consistently – and uniquely within Austria – voted against the Freedom Party. Henrik Neumayer, 17, has had a vote since he was 16-years-old. When asked who he supported in the upcoming election, he winced like he has just swallowed a rotten egg. “Ehh, I think I don’t like either of them,” he said.
At his side, on the park bench by a serene duck pond, 16-year-old Sara Maksim is more certain. As far as she is concerned, Hofer is a racist, campaigning on impractical anti-immigrant policies. “I think he just wants a second chance to get elected.I hate him,” she said.
Full Article: In Liberal Vienna, Youth Fear Austria’s Presidential Re-run.