Anti-Rosenkranz ‘sea of candles’ draws 3,000

Around 3,000 people attended a “sea of candles” protest march against the Freedom Party’s (FPÖ) presidential candidate Barbara Rosenkranz in Vienna last night (Thurs), according to police.Rosenkranz has come under fire over failing to make clear her statements about Austria’s Nazi past and the existence of gas chambers at the Third Reich’s death camps.The ultra-conservative mother-of-ten accused press of “riding a campaign” against her as a person, and decided to declare under oath that she never doubted the existence of gas chambers earlier this month.She did so only two days after Kronen Zeitung publisher Hans Dichand called on her to do so in a comment. The newspaper backs her bid, and Dichand praised her a “courageous mother”. Rosenkranz, who heads the FP֒s Lower Austrian department, then said she has always condemned the Nazi’s crimes.Ariel Muzicant, head of the Austrian Jewish Community (IKG), and TV entertainer Alfons Haider attended last night’s city centre gathering which was organised by an anti-Rosenkranz Facebook group.Analysts said the public debate over the politician’s controversial views has harmed the FP֒s standing.Polls have shown Rosenkranz has the potential to garner around ten per cent in the 25 April vote, while incumbent president Heinz Fischer is tipped for a landslide victory.Rudolf Gehring, head of the conservative anti-abortion party Die Christen (The Christians), announced yesterday he will also run for the post. The party, which is not represented in the federal parliament, reached 0.6 per cent in the 2008 general election.