Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern has called the anti-mass migration Freedom Party the “forces of darkness” as their presidential candidate leads in a new poll.
Chancellor of Austria and leader of the Socialist Party (SPÖ) Christian Kern did not mince words regarding the Freedom Party (FPÖ) on Thursday night during a visit to Tyrol. The Chancellor, who replaced Werner Faymann earlier this year, gave a speech at the party council of the Tyrolean SPÖ, warning that they could not allow the FPÖ to win the keys to the parliament or the Hofburg palace where the Austrian president resides. Mr. Kern went as far as to say the FPÖ were political “forces of darkness”, reports Kurier.
The speech garnered a standing ovation from the Socialist crowd who gathered to hear Mr. Kern speak on the looming re-run of the Austrian presidential elections that were deemed void due to postal ballot voting discrepancies. Discussing the upcoming election, which sees FPÖ candidate Norbert Hofer once again take on former Green party leader Alexander Van der Bellen, the Chancellor said: “It is currently a conflict between the forces of light and the forces of darkness.”
Mr. Kern also noted that some politicians in the conservative Austrian People’s Party were legitimising the views of the FPÖ and said that while many of the FPÖ voters are not extremists, the polices of the party are.
The speech, which lasted over an hour, bares striking similarity to the reactions of American Democrats and Trump critics to Republican nominee for President Donald Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention Committee. CNN commentator, and former Obama administration official, Van Jones called Mr. Trump’s speech “a disgrace” and claimed Mr. Trump was describing “some Mad Max America.”
The results for the first poll for the re-run of the Austrian presidential election have also been announced and it shows a narrow lead for the FPÖ candidate. The poll, carried out by Austrian newspaper Österreich, claims to show that Mr. Hofer would win the election, scheduled for October 2nd, by a two per cent margin – much larger than the cancelled result in May which saw his rival Mr. Van der Bellen winning the vote by less than a percentage point.
Another poll conducted by Gallup shows that the participation for the re-run could be far higher than May’s vote. While in May 72 per cent of eligible Austrians came out to vote, the organisation predicts that the participation could jump as high as 84 per cent, making it one of the highest turnouts in Austrian electoral history.
Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung reports the recent spate of bloody terror attacks in neighboring Germany may be responsible for some of the swing, as voters look for a politician who could provide a figurehead and leadership in a time of uncertainty. On these questions of national security, and instability following the Turkish coup the Green contender Van der Bellen “had no answer”, the paper said.