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Austrian far-right leader publishes drugs test

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Austrian far-right leader publishes drugs test
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal
12:06 CEST+02:00
The head of Austria's popular far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), long subject to allegations he takes illegal drugs, has published results of tests that he said show he is clean.

"The results won't even surprise my opponents who didn't believe the ugly and incorrect rumours themselves, but put them out there to damage our cause," Heinz-Christian Strache said on Facebook.

Posting two doctors' reports, the "dedicated sportsman and opponent of drugs" said that the samples from his slicked-back mop of hair, taken in the presence of a notary and witnesses, were his seventh voluntary test in recent years.

Strache, 47, underwent the tests, which give him the all-clear for the past few months, after the editor of a left-leaning weekly, Falter, challenged him to publish hair and urine samples.

This in turn came after the ecologist candidate in upcoming presidential elections, Alexander Van der Bellen, published medical reports to dispel rumours he has cancer.

The report said that the 72-year-old heavy smoker "really has wonderful lungs".

Van der Bellen narrowly beat Norbert Hofer of Strache's FPÖ party in elections in May for the largely but not entirely ceremonial post of president.

But the far-right managed to get the result declared null and void because of procedural irregularities, and a new election was set for October 2.

This though has been postponed, likely to December 4, because of glue on postal vote envelopes failing to stick, in a major embarrassment for the wealthy EU member state.

Like other populist parties in Europe, the opposition FPÖ has stoked concerns about record immigration and an out-of-touch centrist governing elite to boost support.

It tops opinion polls ahead of the nest scheduled elections in 2018. If Hofer, 45, wins the presidency, he would become Europe's first far-right head of state since 1945.

Polls show him neck-and-neck with Van der Bellen.

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