Rosenkranz supporter accuses media of ‘manipulating’ campaign

A historian who came out supporting the Freedom Party’s (FPÖ) presidential candidate Barbara Rosenkranz has accused Austrian media of “riding a campaign” against her bid.Lothar Höbelt, an expert on developments in Austria’s right-wing political scene who has been linked with the FPÖ before, said yesterday (Tues) outdated controversial statements by Rosenkranz would be screened as if they were up-to-date.Rosenkranz recently declared under oath she had never doubted the existence of gas chambers at Nazi concentration camps. The mother-of-ten also stressed she would “totally disassociate” herself from all war-era atrocities.The FPÖ MP did so after, when asked whether she doubted the existence of gas chambers, said: “My view of history is the one of a person who visited Austrian schools between 1964 and 1976.”Many Austrian schools during this period failed to feature World War Two on their curricula.Höbelt claimed “the majority of left-wing journalists at [national broadcaster] ORF” were trying to manipulate the election campaign by screening statements Rosenkranz made in 2006 without informing viewers they were four years old.The historian said such developments posed “a danger” for conservative people in the country and appealed on everyone to stand up against that.Several leading analysts recently said Rosenkranz would fail to attract conservatives looking for an alternative in the 25 April vote after the People’s Party (ÖVP) decided not to nominate a candidate for the presidential election.Experts also claimed her views were too far-right on the political scale for young Austrians who have supported the FPÖ before.Former FPÖ Vice Chancellor Herbert Haupt, who is also part of the support committee for Rosenkranz, meanwhile said: “Twenty per cent and every additional percentage point would be a success.”This announcement comes after FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache said he hoped for 35 per cent for his party’s candidate.Incumbent president Heinz Fischer could win up to 80 per cent, according to recent polls.Haupt praised Rosenkranz for being a patriot and Fischer for failing to speak out over various important topics such as the “disastrous state of the Austrian army and his opinion about North Korea”.Asked what he thought of Fischer announcing he would not meet Rosenkranz in a live TV debate, Haupt said: “This is a scandal.”Former FPÖ chief Alexander Götz and the party’s former FPÖ Justice Minister Harald Ofner also feature the candidate’s support committee.Life Ball organiser Gery Keszler, former ORF boss Gerhard Weis and Volkstheater director Michael Schottenberg meanwhile back Fischer. The former Social Democratic (SPÖ) science minister announced last November he would run for a second term in office.The third candidate at the upcoming election will be Rudolf Gehring, head of the non-parliament Austrian Christians Party (CPÖ). He is expected to garner less than five per cent. The CPÖ won less than one per cent in the 2008 general election.