Rosenkranz campaign event ends early ‘due to Socialist demo’

Freedom Party (FPÖ) presidential candidate Barbara Rosenkranz ended a campaign event in Dornbirn, Vorarlberg, early after she felt “disturbed” by demonstrating young Socialists.FPÖ MP Bernhard Themessl said the party’s stand was “barricaded” by the demonstration of the Socialistic Youth, a youth organisation of the governing Social Democrats (SPÖ).Dornbirn police however said about yesterday’s (Weds) incidents that the protesters “had approached the FPÖ stand peacefully”. They added the Socialists did not shout any slogans and did not become violent in any sense.While the FPÖ claimed they informed local police about their event, Dornbirn officials stressed this was not the case. They added that they were briefed by the young Socialists’ about their plans to hold a demonstration in advance.Rosenkranz left the scene after just 20 minutes to continue her tour through the province.She is challenging incumbent president Heinz Fischer in the 25 April election. Analysts see Rosenkranz at around 15 per cent, while Fischer has been given 70 to 80 per cent. The other candidate running for the post – Austrian Christians Party (CPÖ) boss Rudolf Gehring – is unlikely to garner more than five per cent, according to polls.The bid of Rosenkranz to become Austria’s first female president has been shattered after she failed to disassociate herself from the far-right mindset. The FPÖ Lower Austria boss eventually decided to issue a statement she gave under oath that she condemned all war-era crimes.Rosenkranz did so after saying: “My knowledge and view of history is the one of a person who visited Austrian schools between 1964 and 1976” when asked whether she doubted the existence of Nazi death camp gas chambers.She referred to the controversial fact that curriculums at many of the country’s schools failed to feature World War Two at that time.Fischer meanwhile yesterday attacked his critics who claimed he shouted “Sieg Heil!” during a parliamentary debate in 1989.The former SPÖ MP is accused of shouting the infamous Nazi greeting at the end of a speech by FPÖ MP Siegfried Dillersberger.Fischer claimed he had said towards the right-wing party that they would “apparently have a ‘Sieg Heil mentality’”.”Those who attack me dig out ‘ancient’ incidences which did not occur the way they claim they did. They do so because the record of my political activities is spotless,” he said.Fischer won 52.4 per cent of the overall vote in the 2004 presidential elections. He announced his decision to run for a second term in office last November. It will be the final term for the 71-year-old author of several books as Austrian law prevents presidents from running for a third term.