Skip to Content

Austrian flag. Photo: FWM
Vienna

Austria: ‘FPÖ has to go back to its core values’

In an exclusive interview with FWM, the Austrian journalist and media consultant Stefan Magnet elaborated on Austria's national elections and the losses of the FPÖ.

Published: October 1, 2019, 9:11 am

    Mr. Magnet, the FPÖ suffered huge losses in the recent national elections in Austria. What are the reasons: The so-called “Ibiza scandal”, suspicions that former party leader Heinz-Christian Strache allegedly embezzled party funds – or are there additional reasons?

    Stefan Magnet. FWM

    Magnet: Of course the scandals about the supposed graft scheme which were covered in all the media outlets right before the elections played a big role in this bad result. The FPÖ has not managed to keep intact their image of an “anti-establishment-party”.

    The media campaign against the FPÖ was working on steroids: Mainstream media ignored the scandals of the other parties while attacking the Freedom Party in full force. It is not just Strache who loved the luxury life at the expense of his party, it is very common also in other Austrian parties. But this is the point: The FPÖ is not a “common” party, they are challenging exactly that type of system. A lot of former voters of the FPÖ were disappointed precisely because of that.

    Former party leader Strache is made to be the scapegoat for the losses of the FPÖ by some party officials and Austrian media. Is that a realistic analysis?

    Magnet: To blame one single person for a loss of ten percent in the election would be wrong. And we should be very careful not to do so. Until now Strache has rejected all accusations of abusing party money for personal expenses. So we have to wait until we get the true facts on the table. If the accusations are reasonable, then the party and Strache will have to face the consequences. But we shouldn’t forget: With former party leader Jörg Haider too, the media was always busy spreading corruption rumors which turned out to be false in the end. Unfortunately this [kind of] media strategy is often very successful.

    Why?

    Magnet: If an anti globalist political party presents itself as an opponent to the recent political system – then this party may not become a part of that system. The electorate doesn’t forgive hypocrisies.

    Recent party leader Norbert Hofer represents a moderate political line of the FPÖ. The former very popular inner minister Herbert Kickl stands for a more rightwing populist course. Was the bad election result also a sign that the electorate wants a more rightwing populist FPÖ?

    Magnet: I think that the “double top” Hofer and Kickl was a good strategy. Hofer appealed to the more moderate electorate while Kickl addressed the core electorate of the FPÖ. We shouldn’t ignore that until two weeks before the elections the FPÖ reached more than 20 percent in all polls. After the media campaign started, it changed for the worse. Even Austrian media, which were neutral or positive towards the FPÖ in the past, were all of the sudden joining this campaign. So I don’t agree that the bad election result has to do with the leadership, but with the massive media campaign against the party and the lack of time to react against this campaign appropriately.

    Does the FPÖ need a sort of “renewal” as many party officials have said after the elections?

    Magnet: Let me say it like that: Those who don’t see the absolute necessity for change after such a loss does not understand what really happened.

    What could such a “renewal” entail?

    Magnet: One day after the elections we can already say: The party has to think about its relationship with the media. It is strongly recommended that the FPÖ invest more energy in building up their own media, especially also in the social media sphere.

    It is naïve to believe that the mainstream media would one day change its stance towards the party. The events of the last days and weeks should be a painful reminder for everyone who believed that the mainstream media would be fair with the FPÖ.

    There is the need to build up their own media and to support alternative media. Only with such a media strategy will the FPÖ be capable in future to react against such mud-slinging campaigns.

    Another important point is of an ideological nature: The party has to remember its own core values and communicate these values. Apart from the important topic of migration, the anti-globalist line is also an important core value. And the FPÖ is of course an anti-establishment party. And exactly this means not being as corrupt as the mainstream parties in Austria.

    opinion@freewestmedia.com

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    Epidemiologist rips ‘increasingly burdensome verification’

    MarseilleIn an interview with a French newspaper, the director of the Marseille University Hospital Institute (IHU), Professor Didier Raoult, defended the effectiveness of chloroquine and said further studies on the drug were just a waste of time.

    Nine major European hospitals now require assistance

    "We will soon be short of important drugs" in the fight against the new Coronavirus, Europe's largest hospital warned in a letter to its respective governments.

    Spain announces highest daily increase in Covid-19 deaths

    MadridSpain's health ministry has announced 838 Covid-19 deaths, the country's highest daily increase in fatalities, bringing the total to 6 528.

    Putin bravely dons hazmat suit to visit Covid-19 patients in Moscow

    MoscowPresident Vladimir Putin donned a yellow hazmat suit to explain to the public the emergency measures taken by the Russian government.

    Italian infections on the rise again despite curfews

    RomeAfter a few days of decline, the number of new cases in Italy have increased again. Wednesday's rise in the number of dead were 683, while on Tuesday the rise was 743. The number of confirmed cases in the US has however surpassed China and Italy to become the largest outbreak in the world.

    How the East fights against the Coronavirus

    MoscowEurope currently appears to be drowning in chaos and dysfunction when it comes to the fight against the Coronavirus. But how is Russia handling the challenge right now?

    Italy faces new emergency as it runs out of disinfectants

    RomeIt will no longer be possible to disinfect hospitals, ambulances, public transport and schools. The League has urged the EU to step in. "The government and Europe must intervene as soon as possible."

    Immigrants revolt against confinement in France, Germany

    ParisWhile drastic containment measures came into effect on March 17 at noon in France, carelessness and incivility persist in the immigrant districts of Paris. The police dispatched on the spot are exasperated with the inhabitants.

    Famous virologist explains risky ‘logic’ of herd immunity

    A virologist twice nominated for the Nobel Prize explains the British strategy of "herd immunity" claiming it may have a logical explanation, but is still too risky.

    Italian specialist: Three diseases that invite risk faced with the Coronavirus

    RomeIt seems that there are no more doubts since the data are clear: The mortality from Covid-19 is higher "for hypertensive patients, patients with cardiac arrhythmias, diabetics and patients with cardiovascular diseases".

    Go to archive