Far-right surge fears as Gudenus set to head FPÖ Vienna

An up-and-coming right-winger has been elected as executive chief of the Freedom Party (FPÖ) in the city parliament of Vienna.Johann Gudenus received unanimous support by the party board in a summit in Mauerbach near Vienna today (Weds). Gudenus will lead the FP֒s delegation in the city parliament after the party’s 10 October election campaign front runner Heinz-Christian Strache decided to remain a member of the federal parliament (MEP).The right-wing party bagged 25.77 per cent in the recent election, up by 10.94 per cent, and Strache – who heads it both on federal level and in Vienna – has been identified as the key to success. Strache is immensely popular among many young people, but also has more and more support among pensioners angered by various decisions of the ruling Social Democrats (SPÖ).Gudenus is regarded as the party’s “crown prince”. He has been given the potential to one day succeed Strache – whose chances to become federal chancellor are seen as soaring.Gudenus formerly headed the FP֒s federal youth organisation and caused a stir with various controversial claims regarding integration and crime.”Young Turks unwilling to integrate are the problem (in Vienna). They are more violent and ready to carry out crimes,” he said shortly ahead of last month’s city parliament ballot.Some political analysts have accused Gudenus of having used certain terms popular in the German Third Reich which are understood by neo-Nazis as “codes” showing support of their views.All parties but the FPÖ, which campaigned against “immigrants unwilling to integrate”, suffered losses in the recent election. Strache claimed his party had the chance to win more than 40 per cent in the 2015 city ballot if the SPÖ did not change its policy which currently rules out any kind of cooperation with the right-wing party.The party headed by Mayor Michael Häupl was expected to approach the People’s Party (ÖVP) for coalition talks after, with 44,24 per cent, it lost its absolute majority in seats in the 10 October ballot. The ÖVP Vienna’s share shrank by 4.78 per cent to 13.99 per cent.The Viennese Social Democrats however invited the Greens (2010 vote result: 12.64 per cent, down by 1.99 per cent) for talks which ended in a coalition agreement earlier this week.Federal Greens boss Eva Glawischnig said she regarded the cooperation as a “unique chance” for her party, adding that serious changes to the federal political landscape were possible.Many columnists, meanwhile, warned that this coalition may help the FPÖ to more support as a turnaround in favour of cyclists and public transport is expected. The FPÖ has traditionally strong support among motorists pressure groups.Immigration is regarded as the other major crucial issue considering the contrary views of the SPÖ-Greens coalition and the right-wing party which is now led by Gudenus in the federal capital’s parliament.