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Norbert Höfer, Wikipedia

Austria’s Höfer ahead in polls, wins Hitler defamation suit

The Austrian Freedom Party's (FPO) Norbert Höfer, has won 1,000 euro in damages on Friday from a man who posted a fake image of him with a Hitler mustache on social media.

Published: October 13, 2016, 3:40 pm

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    The Facebook post had said that Norbert Höfer “wishes all those mentally disturbed compatriots who vote for him good morning. Heil Höfer!”

    The 42-year-old man, who was not named, was also fined 320 euros by a court in Innsbruck for defamation, local media reported.

    It is not the first time that Hofer, 45, has launched legal proceedings for being called a Nazi.

    Meanwhile Höfer is ahead in Austria’s presidential race, according to opinion polls which predict a win for the anti-immigration candidate. Höfer is running against ultra-leftist Alexander Van der Bellen.

    The win would mean a watershed for nationalists across Europe. The election, scheduled for October 2 was rescheduled to December 4 due to problems with glue.

    The Freedom Party challenged the previous run-off result, which showed Van der Bellen winning by 31,000 postal votes. A court decided the election had to be re-run due to a fraudulent count.

    Concerns about mass immigration, security and national identity as well as dissatisfaction with Eurocrats, have fueled support for the FPO as well as the Front National in France and the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

    A poll of 600 people published by the Oesterreich newspaper showed Höfer leading with 53 percent, one point higher than a poll in late July, versus 47 percent for former Greens leader Van der Bellen.

    Another poll, of 778 people with a margin of error of 3.6 percent, published by the newspaper Kurier, found Höfer leading by 38 percent while only 34 percent picked Van der Bellen.

    In polls for parliamentary elections set for 2018, the FPO regularly attracts more than 33 percent, ahead of both ruling centre-left parties.

    Although Austria’s president plays a largely ceremonial role, he can dismiss the cabinet.

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