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Freedom Party rap is 'shabby propaganda'

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Freedom Party rap is 'shabby propaganda'
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: APA
15:20 CEST+02:00
FPÖ chairman Heinz-Christian Strache has posted a new rap video on YouTube called Patriots for Election, ahead of the EU elections this weekend - which uses footage of the former Federal Chancellor Leopold Figl (who died in 1965).

The ÖVP (People's Party) said the rap "misused" Figl's image and was a "disgrace" for the Freedom Party.

The family of the former chancellor called it a "shabby propaganda" stunt and told Strache to “learn your history!”

Figl was the first Federal Chancellor after World War II. During the war he was imprisoned in Dachau and Mauthausen concentration camps and in 1945 the Nazis sentenced him to death for "high treason", but the war ended before they could carry out the death penalty. 

As foreign minister, Figl’s appearance on the balcony of Belvedere Palace in 1955 waving the Austrian State Treaty of independence and speaking the words Österreich ist frei! (Austria is free!), has become an iconic moment in Austrian history.

In Strache's latest music video Figl’s famous phrase is sampled, and he raps over it: "Figl’s words! Austria is free - Thanks to this EU it’s almost over". He goes on to criticize the "senseless bans of EU bureaucrats". He also takes a swing at the governing coalition: "Red-Black will tell our Austria to make another United States."

He continues his rhyming criticism with a rousing chorus: "Because it's about Austria, so it continues. Let’s get to the election and make a choice for freedom!"

At this point the FPO’s top candidate for the EU elections, Harald Vilimsky, has his big moment - singing along with party colleagues in a backing group.

"Mr Strache and the FPÖ should make their shabby, political propaganda without relying on people whose political attitudes and ideals have nothing to do with theirs. This video is an insult to all people who appreciate Leopold Figl and share his values," Markus Figl, Leopold Figl’s great nephew, said.

Markus Figl said the FPÖ had made it clear it had “no respect for Austrian history”. As a concentration camp prisoner his great uncle knew the real meaning of freedom, he added. 

When he stood down as leader of the ÖVP in 1951, Figl’s farewell speech mentioned the benefits of a united Europe.

Markus Figl called on Strache to remove the video and apologize for his faux pas.

"Leopold Figl stands for freedom and peace. To use one of his great achievements in a rap is the shabbiest kind of abuse,” ÖVP parliamentarian John Schmuckenschlager said.

Watch the video below.

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