Far-right school board candidate stirs debate

Far-right school board candidate stirs debate
Maximilian Krauss. Photo: APA/ROLAND SCHLAGER
A 21-year-old far-right candidate for Vienna's school board, known for his verbal attacks on Turkish minorities, is sending shockwaves through politics in the Austrian capital.

The anti-immigrant Freedom Party has chosen Maximilian Krauss, a member of the extreme-right student group Aldania, as its candidate for vice president of the school board, which provides educational and psychological support for parents and students.

As the second largest party in the city council, it falls to the Freedom Party to make the appointment.

But Krauss is a highly controversial choice, known notably for calling Vienna Mayor Michael Haupl the "mayor of the Turks (who) takes his orders directly from Ankara".

He has demanded that "immigrants with Turkish blood (be) sent back where they came from" and called for foreign children to be put in separate classrooms because their German is not good enough.

Around 115,000 Turkish nationals live in Austria — 16.5 percent of the population — second only to Germans.

Mayor Haupl has threatened to veto Krauss's nomination, but the Freedom Party has warned it would appeal the move at the Constitutional Court.

The party, which is currently riding high in opinion polls, secured a strong showing in the European parliamentary elections in May, finishing third.

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