Leader of Austria's far-right Freedom Party calls for 'zero immigration'

The Local Austria
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Leader of Austria's far-right Freedom Party calls for 'zero immigration'
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Private

The leader of Austria's Freedom Party (FPÖ), Heinz-Christian Strache, described Islam as "misogynistic," "anti-liberal," and as having "a fascistic worldview" during an almost two-hour speech at the FPÖ's New Year gathering in the city of Salzburg.


Strache told around 4,000 party loyalists that Austria should "quickly put an end to this policy of Islamization... otherwise we Austrians, we Europeans will come to an abrupt end". Asked to clarify what this meant, an FPÖ spokesperson said that any law against extreme Islam would mirror those introduced after World War II, which banned Nazi symbols and political affiliation.

Around 600,000 Muslims live in Austria, some of whom arrived during the recent migration crisis.

The FPÖ has campaigned using a strong anti-Muslim message that includes calling for a ban on face veils.

Strache also said he plans to improve Austria’s social economic standing, with a minimum wage of €1,300 a month and a minimum pension of €1,100. He called for access to Austria’s labour market to be restricted for Eastern Europeans, and made a clear commitment to staying in the EU - insisting however that the EU must reform because of what he said were failures in its migration policies.

The Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) recently announced that it wants to introduce an upper limit on the number of asylum applications this year. But Strache said that what Austria needs is “zero immigration, actually minus immigration, because all illegal individuals and criminals belong outside of the country".

Austria had 85,500 first-time asylum applications in 2015, making it the third-highest country for such applications in Europe that year.

The FPÖ narrowly lost the presidential election in December, with the party's candidate Nobert Hofer getting 47 percent of the vote. However, the FPÖ is currently polling at 30 percent, making it Austria's strongest party.

Looking ahead to parliamentary elections in 2018, Strache said that "the time is ripe" for an FPÖ victory and that the party's campaign message will be based on security, direct democracy, migration and social justice.


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