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Zwander, Wolfgang

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Falter - Austria | 11/08/2011

Corrupt right-wing populists in Austria

The right-wing populist Uwe Scheuch was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of corruption by an Austrian court at the beginning of August. The verdict against the deputy governor of the Austrian state of Carinthia, and the ensuing verbal attacks by members of the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) against the judiciary raise doubts about whether the party is at all compatible with democracy, writes the left-leaning weekly Der Falter: "And now of all people Uwe Scheuch, who together with [FPÖ chief] Strache wanted to parade an FPÖ cleansed of all Haider's baggage, has become the symbol of its corruptibility. The party leadership can only blame itself for the fact that on top of that the affair has become a symbol of the Freedom Party's worrying attitude towards the judiciary. Since H.-C. Strache started presenting himself as a statesman last year and beat the SPÖ and the ÖVP for the first time in the opinion polls he even wanted to make a bid to lead the country, but the current campaign against the rule of law confirms the doubts that the Freedom Party is at all ready for democracy."

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