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29. 07. 11. - 16:09

FP kicks out MP for Norway killing theories

The Freedom Party (FPÖ) has decided to expel a member for his disputed statements regarding a recent massacre in Norway.

Werner Königshofer, who represented the right-wing party in the federal parliament in Vienna, compared the acts of Anders Behring Breivik with abortion on demand. The Tyrolean politician deplored the "death of millions of unborn children all over Europe." Breivik killed at least 76 people by placing a car bomb in the city centre of Oslo last week before going on a shooting spree on a nearby lake island.

FPÖ boss Heinz-Christian Strache announced today (Fri) it was important to signalise that his party wanted to strictly disassociate itself from Königshofer’s claims. "His (Königshofer’s) points of view strongly contradict the FPÖ’s ideology."

The expulsion comes just one day after FPÖ deputy leader Norbert Hofer warned Königshofer of being shown the yellow card if he refused to make changes to his policies. Referring to football, Hofer pointed out that the yellow card was often succeeded by the red card.

Königshofer did not only cause outcry with his theories about abortion on demand. Shortly after first details about the deranged mind of Breivik emerged, he claimed on his profile on social networking site Facebook: "The Islamic threat has struck Europe a thousand times more often."

FPÖ Tyrol chief Gerald Hauser welcomed the decision to kick Königshofer out as a "correct and necessary step." However, the expelled member of the federal parliament (MP) said he would appeal the decision of Strache and Hofer which still needs the green light by the party board.

Königshofer said he heard about the decision of the FPÖ leaders only in the media. The right-winger – whose Facebook profile has been taken offline in the meantime – was member of a far-right party which was officially prohibited for spreading neo-Nazi propaganda before he joined the FPÖ in 1987. Before publishing his statements regarding the tragedy in Norway, the Innsbruck-based politician was criticised over his Facebook page’s links with alleged neo-Nazis.

Prosecutors in Innsbruck have been investigating against him over accusations he had been in touch with managers of a neo-Nazi homepage. Austrian authorities have tried to get the Alpen-Donau page off the World Wide Web (WWW) for breaching the country’s strict anti-Nazi propaganda laws. However, their efforts have been hampered as the homepage is managed from servers not located in Austria. The online platform recently reappeared under a slightly different internet address only days after it went offline. Königshofer denied any involvement with the activities of the Alpe-Donau platform's organisers.

The decision to expel him from the party comes in the middle of a debate among political analysts which way Strache aims to take his party. The FPÖ has good chances to come first in the next general election scheduled for 2013. However, it appears unlikely that the Social Democrats (SPÖ) or the People’s Party (ÖVP) will cooperate with it due to its anti-immigration policy as well as because of its hostile attitude towards pro-European Union (EU) ideas. If neither SPÖ bosses nor the ÖVP board change their mind, Strache would be forced out of power regardless of his party’s performance in the upcoming ballot. The FPÖ came third behind the SPÖ, the strongest faction, and the ÖVP in the most recent federal vote in September 2008.

The current political climate has tempted Strache to focus on disassociating himself and the whole FPÖ from far-right views. The party’s new manifesto condemns any kind of "fanaticism and extremism." It also says immigrants who integrated well and are capable of speaking German should be granted Austrian citizenships. This inclusion of this paragraph in the party manifesto created by a team of members headed by Hofer surprised some observers as the FPÖ has campaigned especially against Muslim immigrants who are allegedly unwilling to integrate into society. The party neglected economic issues and other topics in the most recent federal and provincial elections. Instead, it claimed the SPÖ-ÖVP coalition should do more for "hardworking, honest Austrians."

Strache made clear in a two-hour speech at the FPÖ’s most recent federal summit in Graz in April that he wanted to become Austria’s next chancellor. Referring to incumbent Chancellor Werner Faymann of the SPÖ, the right-winger claimed: "I would do everything different to this Mister Faymann, but many things better."

Newspaper commentators claimed today Strache was too late with drawing a line in its fight against the FPÖ’s far-right branch as the expulsion of Königshofer comes just weeks after it emerged that Gerhard Kurzmann faces a trial for agitation against ethnic and religious minorities. The head of the Styrian FPÖ branch could end up behind bars for up to two years.

Kurzmann is being made responsible for the publication of an online game called "Moschee ba ba" (Bye, bye mosque). The shooter game appeared on the internet shortly before provincial elections in Styria in which the FPÖ managed to increase its share last year. In the disputed game, the player has to click on mosques and praying muezzins to make them disappear.

The FPÖ initially refused to comment on claims that it was behind the creation before it became clear that a Swiss political strategist created it for the party’s Styrian department. Strache condemned the game’s contents and the decision to put it on the internet. However, he did not speak out any consequences for Kurzmann or other members of the Styrian branch of the FPÖ.

Strache also came under fire for refusing to kick out Susanne Winter. The former head of the FPÖ’s Graz department claimed in 2008 that prophet Mohammed would be considered as a child molester nowadays. She also said that he wrote the Koran "during epileptic fits." Winter was given a three-month suspended jail sentence. She went on to represent the FPÖ in the federal parliament. Winter is still part of the FPÖ’s faction.

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