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European Populists Celebrate Trump Victory

The victory of President-Elect Donald Trump has sent shock waves through Europe as populist parties in Austria and Germany celebrate – while the establishment is far less enthusiastic.

The historic victory for President-Elect Donald Trump in the United States presidential election is being felt globally, but especially in countries most impacted by the migrant crisis like Germany and Austria.

The rising forces of populism and anti-mass migration in the form of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) have celebrated and welcomed the result while the establishment parties and political figures are “hardly thrilled”, reports Kronen Zeitung.

Leader of the FPÖ, and who may become the next Austrian Chancellor if recent polling numbers hold, Heinz-Christian Strache (pictured above right) congratulated Mr. Trump on his election result. Mr. Strache remarked:”The political left and the lofty establishment have been punished by the voters,” adding that the turn to the right has happened because the right represents the voice of the people.

The FPÖ leader also attacked the Austrian media saying: “Various Austrian mainstream media and journalists, who for weeks have come out against Trump and already declared Clinton the winner in the run-up, were once again embarrassed by the voters.”

In Germany, the leader of the AfD, Frauke Petry (pictured above left), took to Twitter to express her opinion on the U.S. presidential election results. “Congratulations to the future President of the United States of America, Donald Trump,” she wrote and posted a picture of Trump with the words: “This night changes the USA, Europe and the world!”

 

She followed up later tweeting: “Americans have chosen a new beginning free of corruption and sleaze. This is a historic chance.”

The reactions from establishment politicians in the two German-speaking countries were far from enthusiastic. Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern spoke in a somber tone saying: “This is an outcome which certainly few expected. Congratulations to Donald Trump for his victory in the U.S. presidential election,” but then went on to warn: “From the outcome of this election we will have lessons for upcoming elections in Europe.”

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who has over past months warmed to many of the tougher migrant policies of Strache’s FPÖ, called for calm. “An American president, even if he is very powerful, is not the sole ruler,” he said.

Mr. Kurz said, like many others have, that the presidential election reminded him of the Brexit vote in June. “It remains to be seen which of the announcements from the election campaign Donald Trump as American President will take up and implement,” he added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, congratulated Mr. Trump but reminded him that, according to her, he has a responsibility to defend Western cultural values, combat global terrorism, and aid in global economic development.

The migrant policies of Ms. Merkel have been heavily criticised by both Trump and FPÖ leader Strache who recently referred to her as “the most dangerous woman in Europe”.  

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