• Austria's news in English
Strache apologizes over 'fake' asylum pic
Tweet about the contentious picture. Original photo: Juerg Christandl

Strache apologizes over 'fake' asylum pic

The Local/AFP · 29 Apr 2016, 18:15

Published: 29 Apr 2016 18:15 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"A close inspection of the matter has now shown that this claim was not accurate. With an expression of my regret I hereby withdraw it," Heinz-Christian Strache of the Freedom Party (FPÖ) said on Facebook.

Photographer Juerg Christandl, who had sued Strache after he claimed the picture was doctored, said that this meant that "for me, the matter is now closed". He said would not receive any money.

The photo, published in the Kurier daily, was of FPÖ sympathisers holding up signs saying "No to asylum shelter" as a Syrian family with a young child arrived in Vienna in June 2015.

Strache's party, one of several populist parties on the rise across Europe, is leading in opinion polls on the back of unease about the arrival of 90,000
asylum-seekers in Austria last year.

On Sunday, the FPÖ's candidate Norbert Hofer came a clear first in the first round of elections for the largely -- but not entirely -- ceremonial post Austrian president with 35 percent of the vote.

Hofer will now face Alexander van der Bellen, former leader of the Greens, in a run-off on May 22. A Gallup poll released Friday, which surveyed 400 people, put both candidates neck-and-neck.

The first round was a debacle for the two centrist parties in Chancellor Werner Faymann's coalition, which have dominated Austrian politics since 1945, with their candidates knocked out of the race.

This is despite the government taking a harder line on migrants, with parliament this week passing one of Europe's toughest asylum laws and the country tightening border controls.

Hofer predicted on Friday as he presented new campaign posters -- "The RIGHT comes from the PEOPLE", says one -- that he would win "significantly" more than 50 percent on May 22.

Story continues below…

The FPÖ has toned down its anti-immigration rhetoric, with Hofer focusing more on issues like direct democracy and opposing a contentious mooted trade deal between Europe and the United States.

But despite coming across as likeable and moderate, Hofer, 45, is nonetheless an important figure in formulating FPÖ party policy who has said Islam "has no place in Austria".

The Oesterreich tabloid described him this week as "a kind, nice protest politician who wraps the FPÖ's brutal declarations against refugees in soft language".

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/AFP (news.austria@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Austrian policeman sentenced over 'Heil Hitler' salute
Photo: Flickr

A policeman in Austria was sentenced on Thursday for shouting "Heil Hitler" at a driver during a traffic check at the Hungarian border in April.

Scary clown craze endangers crucial work of clown 'doctors'
Photo: Bojan Tavcar

Within the last couple weeks, disturbing events involving masked individuals has caught public attention in Austria.

Chimney sweep rescues lost mushroom picker
Photo: James Lindsey/Wikimedia

A 76-year-old Austrian man who went out mushroom picking almost froze to death after getting lost and spending the night in the forest.

Refugees sold into forced prostitution
File photo: UNHCR

Female refugees are being sold into forced prostitution in Austria, a police investigation into human trafficking has found.

Driverless bus takes a spin around Salzburg's old town
The Arma driverless shuttle bus. Photo: Navya

A driverless minibus has made a test journey in the city of Salzburg.

No jail time for asylum seeker who dumped baby in road
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A man who grabbed his own child and dumped her in the middle of a busy road has been given a nine-month suspended sentence.

Freedom Party leader may face hate speech charges
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The leader of Austria’s Freedom Party may face charges of “hate speech” for posts made by other users on his Facebook page.

The Local List
Five Austrian films we promise won't make you depressed
Still from the comedy Was hat uns bloß so ruiniert.

With the Viennale film festival opening on Thursday, we thought it’s time to take a look at the best of Austrian cinema.

Clown scares passengers at Vienna’s Praterstern station
Generic photo: Graeme Maclean/Flick

The first “scary clown” has been spotted in Vienna - at the Praterstern train and metro station which is a known hotspot for crime and addicts.

Up to 90 percent of failed asylum seekers 'not deported'
Refugees and migrants arriving in Greece. Photo: UNHCR/A.McConnell

Up to 90 percent of failed asylum seekers are not being deported from Austria because their countries of origin will not agree to readmit them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available