THIS STORY WAS UPDATED
The snap elections in Austria saw the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) suffer a blistering defeat with the number of MPs plummeting by 37.3% to 32 from 51. Sebastian Kurz of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) was the biggest winner getting 38.4% of the popular vote and gaining 11 MPs to 73 MPs.
FPÖ vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache and his ministers were forced to resign in May after a video published by two German newspapers offered damaging evidence of him allegedly offering government contracts in return for political support from Moscow.
Even if the FPÖ got clobbered in the election, minorities such as Muslims are worried about Kruz’ anti-Muslim rhetoric. “He did not understand that repeating hardline anti-immigrant rhetoric in a nicer tone does not defeat far-right populists,” said Nina Horaczek, an investigative reporter at Falter, who was quoted in NPR. “It makes them stronger.”
Even if 2019 was supposed to be the year when far-right parties break down the election door, the Danish People’s Party, which is a close ideological ally of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, lost 21 of its seats in July to end up with 16 seats in that country’s parliamentary elections.
The PS, in which the Danish election result sent shivers up the party’s spine, its political message under the leadership of Jussi Halla-aho is entrenched in far-right and radical-right ideology.
Copying the tactics of Lega Nord’s Salvini in giving firey Islamophobic messages, the PS has used the same rhetoric to gain support. Such violent language against minorities is like a flat bicycle tire: You must pump it constantly for air to remain in the tire.
The ever-Islamophobic and racist language of the PS not only continue to fuel the hostile environment but directly incites and legitimizes violence against migrants and minorities.
* The far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. In the last parliamentary election, Blue Reform has wiped off the Finnish political map when they saw their numbers in parliament plummet from 18 MPs to none. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.