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Refugee crisis fears 'helped Freedom Party'

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Josef Pühringer (L) and the FPÖ's Manfred Haimbuchner. Photo: APA
12:25 CEST+02:00
After state elections in Upper Austria resulted in huge gains for the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) and major losses for the conservative People's Party (ÖVP), regional governor Josef Pühringer has said he will be holding talks with all parties to discuss the options before forming a new coalition.

The ÖVP and the Greens have lost their majority, and an ÖVP/FPÖ or ÖVP/SPÖ coalition look most likely.

The Freedom Party is now the second largest party in Upper Austria and Pühringer (ÖVP) told Ö1 radio that he believed its success was solely down to the refugee crisis, and nothing to do with regional politics. “We can only take care of accommodation and on the spot care for refugees - but everything else is in the hands of international politics,” he said.

The FPÖ campaigned aggressively on the issue of immigration, and their success in Upper Austria may bode well for them in the Vienna elections which take place on October 11th.  

The SPÖ gained only 18.4 percent of the vote in the weekend’s elections, a result which analysts are saying is "catastrophic" for the party.

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