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Austrian politician Herbert Kickl. Photo supplied
Vienna

New Austrian conservative strongman calls into question arbitrary Corona rules

Former Austrian Interior Minister Herbert Kickl (FPÖ) is considered the new strong man in his party, slated to take over the leadership soon. In an interview translated from ZUERST! Kickl explains how he wants to bring the FPÖ back to being the top party.

Published: June 12, 2021, 8:43 am

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    Norbert Hofer, who ran for the Austrian presidency in 2016, has just announced that he is stepping down as leader of Austria’s Freedom Party. Herbert Kickl, who served as Austria’s interior minister from 2017 to 2019, said last month that he plans to run as a top candidate in the next parliamentary elections. The populist FPÖ regained popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic and is currently polling at 18 percent.

    Mr. Kickl, as FPÖ club chairman you have been mobilising against the Austrian federal government’s Corona policy for months. What is your main criticism of Sebastian Kurz’s policy?

    Kickl: Since the beginning of the crisis, the Kurz government has persistently refused to back up its measures with figures, data and facts. Although we know more and more about the virus and also about the effectiveness or non-effectiveness of various measures, this evidence is completely ignored by the ruling Black-Green coalition. [Austria’s Green party serves in a coalition government with the conservative People’s Party of Chancellor Kurz, ed.].

    We have known for a long time that lockdowns achieve very little but cause enormous collateral damage. Nevertheless, Austria was ahead of the game in lockdowns – unlike Sweden, for example, where the spread of the disease was similar but the collateral damage could be avoided. There is also little evidence of the effectiveness of masks and certainly not of FFP2 masks, which are compulsory not only in Bavaria but also in Austria – which has brought enormous profits to certain companies.

    We know that children have almost never had severe courses of the disease, yet schools were closed for months. In all these areas Kurz’s coalition have ignored facts and still staged themselves almost daily as great Corona managers, but without any supporting factual background.

    After the so-called “Ibiza affair”, the FPÖ was severely weakened. What is your recipe for the resurgence of your party in the next elections?

    Kickl: I think that Ibiza is no longer too present in people’s minds – especially if you look at the scandals that are coming out about the ÖVP on an almost daily basis. People have known for a long time that Strache said a lot of disreputable things in Ibiza, but they also know that Kurz and his “family” have put this and much more into practice. It will therefore be crucial for the FPÖ to credibly distance itself from this “Kurz system” and to act as an advocate for the citizens on the issue of Corona and the consequences of the crisis that are sure to get worse.

    Many observers see the FPÖ at a crossroads between populism and a moderate course. What do you recommend?

    Kickl: Both are catchwords that fall short. Our party in particular does not need these labels. We are the “Freedom Party” with the addition of the “Social Home Party”. It contains everything that is particularly important to people at the moment. The freedom we took for granted for a long time is massively endangered by the Corona measures. Think, for example, of the “green passport”, which massively restricts the freedom of all citizens.

    Some are excluded from social life because they do not submit to the testing and vaccination regime. The others are allowed to make use of well-measured “freedoms” that are only permitted on a revocable basis, but in return they have to allow themselves to be monitored at every turn. This is a state of affairs that a Freedom Party must fight massively against – and that is what we are doing as the only parliamentary party in Austria.

    Unfortunately, we are also facing great social upheavals due to the massive increase in unemployment and the wave of bankruptcies that is still to come to a large extent. And finally, we must not lose sight of the big issue of migration. For even if the world largely came to a standstill during Corona, the traffickers were not in lockdown. We can see this in Austria in the massively rising numbers of asylum seekers. And in this area, too, we are the only ones fighting to keep our country a home for Austrians.

    How long do you actually give Sebastian Kurz’s government?

    Kickl: I can’t and don’t want to estimate that. The patience of the Greens seems infinite and even the media, which are well paid by the government, hardly dare to criticise them. But at some point the barrel will overflow, that’s clear. And I think it will be before the regular election date in 2024.

    Mr Kickl, thank you very much for the interview.

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    • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca

      If we can judge by his tenure as Interior Minister, Kickl will be a strong leader for the FPO. A lawyer by training, he is persistent and methodical. As Interior Minister, he developed a program to push back against the growth of non-European immigrant culture and influence in Austria, not only effectively fighting crime among that demographic but also ensuring that the Muslims settled in Austria had to obey Austrian law and administration, or face legal sanctions. Or leave. And that was one of the objectives of the FPO, and indeed, of the first Kurz government. Expect the current second Kurz government to face its share of criticism on immigration and other issues, including the response to the COVID-19 crisis. The Greens are likely to come in for their share of criticism as well, especially in areas where they conflict with government policies that affect the security and safety of the Austrian public.

    • Good decision
      Tractors

    • Racewar2021

      Vaccine is poison.
      Masks are for slaves.
      Dont be leftists’ slaves.

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