Austria’s Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer lost his country’s general elections by precisely a few thousand votes last week, narrowly missing out on becoming the European Union’s first-ever far-right head of state.
Despite Hofer’s defeat, the rattled Austrian government announced a day after the election results that it would make its asylum program stricter and closer in line with the anti-immigration Freedom Party’s platform. Observer said the ruling organization shaped the move because support for Hofer obliged it to mollify some of the Freedom Party’s challenges, in an attempt to turn voters away from the radical right.
Austria’s effort to mollify the rising right-wing populism within its borders indicates similar situations in other European countries. While failing to actually win elections, far-right parties have long have been successful in steering the political dialogue and making previously extreme ideologies into the mainstream.
“The real political threat from far-right parties in Europe is not that they will come to power, because that’s only now beginning to seem possible, but that they are able to predominate the orders of the day, ” Martin Schain, a New York University professor whose production focuses on European politics, told The WorldPost.
Europe’s Far-Right Reframes The Debate
Far-right populist defendants in Europe are not a monolith, and contain diversification in its own policy as well as their backgrounds. Britain’s UKIP, for example, is far more moderate than Greece’s violent and neo-fascist Golden Dawn. There are a number of aspects that right-wing populist parties in Europe have in common, nonetheless, including the ability to undercut conventional right- and left-wing parties and reframe the political debate.
Playing on ethno-nationalist feeling, and using the refugee crisisto capitalize on fears over Islamism, national its safety and loss of authority benefits, many of these long-established parties have risen in the pollsin countries across Europe last year. Throwing themselves as champions of the person against immigration — as well as resisting trade policies and the EU — has been a successful strategy.
Schain and other experts say establishment parties often to continue efforts to allay far-right movements in places where they’re ripening by adopting some of their policies.
In Denmark, the success of the far-right Danish People’s Party and the need for the ruling Liberal Party to rely on conservative subsidize in parliament contributed to the country elapsing harsh new immigration laws in January. France’s Progressive authority, more, proposed legislation that same month to strip citizenship of dual citizens imprisoned of terrorism — an idea that initially came from the country’s far-right. While these bills didn’t arise exclusively as the purposes of the far-right’s existence, terrorist attack and the refugee crisis have given revolutionary defendants an opportunity to push them into the mainstream.
In Hungary, the already nationalist and conservative Fidesz party has been pushed even further to the extreme as a result of rising support for the ultranationalist, anti-refugee Jobbik party. Jobbik, the most significant opposition political parties, has previously called for Jewish the general public to be put on registration indices. Observers contend that fending off Jobbik is one of the reasons that Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has taken such an aggressive anti-refugee and anti-EU posture in recent years.
Austria And The Far-Right
Like many of Europe’s far-right parties, the Freedom Party has been an active part of its country’s politics for decades, and has prescribed Austria’s political discourse during the course of its meridians of its popular support. Former Nazi SS detectives founded the party around 60 years ago, but it wasn’t until the 1990 s under charismatic captain Jorg Haider that it became a mainstream political contender.
One of the reasons why behind the Freedom Party’s breakthrough was an influx of migrants and refugees, who were then leaving eastern bloc countries after the fall of the Soviet Union. Experts say the Freedom Party applied similar rhetoric to describe European migrants during the course of its 1990 s as it now applies against refugees from the Middle East and Africa.
The Freedom Party exploited “the fear of young men, the concerns of losing responsibilities, the concerns of being’ overwhelmed’ by mints of foreigners and metaphors — much like we see now — of intrusion, tsunami and avalanches, ” Professor Ruth Wodak, an author on right-wing populism, told The WorldPost.
The party orientation itself early on as a defender of national identity, exhausting a popular “Austria First” petition in 1992 that territory “Austria is not an in-migration country.” The government’s response to the Freedom Party’s rise, Wodak justifies, was to eventually cater to the far-right and implement a series of measures that included restrictive citizenship laws and obligatory German expression classifies for driving permit.
The Austrian far-right’s latest spike in popularity again comes during a movement crisis, as well as at a time when Europe’s anti-EU sentimentalityis high. While the government initially pursued an open-door plan for Syrian refugees same to Germany’s, it afterward switched its decision and closed Austria’s borderlines amid organizing public disappointment. This button in borderline program bolstered the Freedom Party’s supporting, observers say, shaping traditional defendants appear to be political opportunists and the extreme right look like it had been correct to have opposed refugees.
Even though is supportive of the Freedom Party descended merely short of going Hofer elected to the largely ceremonial position of chairman, his candidacy has undercut the two centrist parties and furthered anti-refugee, anti-EU sentiment in Austria.