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FPÖ compares Van der Bellen with Hitler

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FPÖ compares Van der Bellen with Hitler
Campaign posters for Alexander Van der Bellen (L) and Norbert Hofer (R). Photo: Paul Gillingwater
16:27 CET+01:00
Austria's far-right Freedom Party has turned the tables on left-wing critics who compare them with the Nazis by comparing their left-wing rival in the presidential election with Adolf Hitler.
The Freedom Party (FPÖ) in the Styrian city of Kapfenberg said they were fed up with their own candidate Norbert Hofer, 45, being branded a Nazi with many election posters being vandalised with swastikas.
 
On social media, they contrasted a poster of former Green party leader and rival candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, 72, with famous images of Hitler.
 
On the poster, Van der Bellen is seen leaning against a fence against an Alpine background. He looks down at his dog, whose tail is wagging back and forth. They contrast it with famous pictures of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, who also frequently posed with his German shepherd Blondi at his mountainside retreat of Obersalzberg - known in English as the Eagle's Nest.
 
The FPÖ wrote text below the images, saying that "in contrast to the political opposition we do not want to assume anything here. But the setting is at least unfortunately chosen."
 
They wrote that they wanted to keep the comparison as a "memorial for when the next left-wing outrage over a Nazi connection was made."
 
Meanwhile, the Kapfenberg FPÖ chapter has deleted the post. However the image continued to circulate on social media. Martin Glier, the spokesman for Hofer, was among those who shared it with the words "ouch".
 
Lothar Lockl, Alexander Van der Bellen's election campaign manager, did not find the comparison funny at all. "The comparison with Adolf Hitler breaks all the dimensions we have experienced from the Freedom Party. How low will the election campaign get?"
 
The post has since been deleted from social media. 
 
Local media reported the team around Van der Bellen is considering legal action.
 
Over the last months, Van der Bellen's parents were accused of being Nazi supporters, an allegation rejected by the Green party candidate.
 
On the other hand, Hofer, who was partially paralysed after a paragliding accident, has been insulted online because of his disability.
 
Hofer and Van der Bellen are facing off in a second-round vote after a court ordered a rerun after irregularities in postal voting.
 
A renewed vote was originally scheduled on 2nd October, but was postponed again to 4th December after adhesive seals on postal votes were found to have come unstuck.
 
Van der Bellen beat Hofer in the second round by just 31,000 votes, but those elections were annulled by the court after Hofer complained about said anomalies in the counting of postal votes.
 
Story courtesy of Central European News. 

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