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Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo supplied

Former Austrian Vice Chancellor Strache gives up FPÖ party membership

The former Austrian Vice Chancellor and FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache has announced that he will be leaving his party and withdrawing from politics.

Published: October 1, 2019, 11:34 am

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    In a personal statement, he said on Tuesday that he wanted to prevent harm from coming to his “free-thinking community”.

    Strache, however, does not see himself as contributing to the defeat of the FPÖ in the parliamentary elections last Sunday. “The failure has many fathers,” said Strache, whose involvement in the Ibiza affair led to the end of the turquoise-blue coalition with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP).

    He was disappointed that none of his party members after the past week had sought a conversation with him about the fraud allegations. On election night, Strache said the FPÖ had made strategic mistakes in the election campaign. “Anyone who embraces the ÖVP in this way and leaves the consistent path of a social home party should not be surprised if many people choose ÖVP directly or are insecure,” he wrote on Facebook.

    With his retirement from politics, Strache may have pre-empted  party exclusion. Styrian state chairman Mario Kunasek was the first to call for a party expulsion in case the allegations against Strache were confirmed. “If that’s true, I do not see any other option, I’m so sorry,” Kunasek said.

    Also, the Tyrolean FPÖ boss Markus Abwerzger spoke out against Strache. If the allegations were true, “the suspension is probably not enough” he said.

    Strache’s speech on Facebook on election night led to the “overflowing of the barrel”. On Tuesday morning, first the registration of the Internet address caused speculation about a spin-off party and a possible entry for the state election in Vienna in the coming year.

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