FPÖ in turmoil as troublemakers expelled

Turbulence in the Freedom Party (FPÖ) continues as two Tyrolean party officials were expelled today (Fri).A spokesman for the right-wing opposition party said Innsbruck Councillor Christian Haager and provincial parliament member Walter Gatt had “harmed the FP֒s reputation”.Haager and Gatt are accused of questioning the authority of Tyrolean FPÖ boss Gerald Hauser, who is suffering from an undisclosed illness.That came just days after David Nagiller, a member of Tyrolean FPÖ MP Carmen Gartelgruber’s team, was suspended.Political analysts have said the FPÖ will face its “make or break” moment at this autumn’s Vienna city election after key party officials were at odds over the decision to name Barbara Rosenkranz as its candidate for the presidency.Rosenkranz, who represents the FP֒s nationalist wing, garnered only around 16 per cent of the overall vote last Sunday, while incumbent President Heinz Fischer bagged almost 79 per cent. Precise results will be announced later today after all mail votes have been counted.Some columnists said the FPÖ would have benefited by running party leader Heinz-Christian Strache. He would not have had a chance of beating Fischer – a former Social Democratic (SPÖ) science minister – either, but they claimed the FPÖ would have gained a tail wind for the upcoming Vienna vote by achieving a respectable result in the presidential election.Burgenland provincial elections will take place next month, and people in Styria will head to the polling booths in autumn. But it is the Vienna city election that is seen as the most important as far as circumstances on the federal political level are concerned.Polls have shown that the Vienna SPÖ is under threat of losing its absolute majority, while strong gains by the FPÖ under its federal and city department chief Strache are expected.Some newspapers claimed Strache had disagreed with nominating Rosenkranz because he had wanted to run for president himself. His announcement that she had the potential to win 35 per cent may have harmed rather than helped her bid since all polls had given the mother-of-ten under 20 per cent.Strache was accused of letting Rosenkranz down in the election campaign as he had joined her on stage on only a handful of dates on her tour through the country.Some FPÖ officials recently suggested the party should adapt more liberal policies to succeed in upcoming elections, while others said they were convinced of its strict anti-immigration course.