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Heinz-Christian Strache (born 12 June 1969, Vienna) is an Austrian politician and a member of parliament and former member of the Vienna city council who has been Chairman of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) since 2005. He prefers to call himself just 'HC' Strache.
Rise to national party leader
Strache, who by training is a dental technician, has been active in the politics of Vienna since 1991. In 2004, he replaced Hilmar Kabas as the leader of the Vienna FPÖ. He had been considered a disciple of long-time national party leader Jörg Haider, but began to oppose him as the result of increased strife within the party in January 2005. After a series of losses in state elections, rumours spread that Strache would run for the office of national party leader against Haider's sister, Ursula Haubner. The high risk of Haubner's defeat was probably one of the events that induced Haider to set up a new party, the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ). After the split, Strache was elected national party leader of the FPÖ on 23 April 2005.
State elections and the campaign in Vienna
Since the split, the FPÖ's results in state elections have been mixed. While it dropped out of the Styria Landtag and was reduced to 5.7% in Burgenland, it surpassed expectations in the Vienna elections of October 2005. Strache himself was the leading candidate in Vienna, and the party received 14.9% of votes. Strache's campaign, included slogans such as:
- Wien darf nicht Istanbul werden (Vienna must not become Istanbul). A variation on an FPÖ slogan from the Haider era: Wien darf nicht Chicago werden. Vienna has a significant Turkish minority, the FPÖ is opposed to Turkish EU membership and it refers to the defeat of the Ottoman empire in the Battle of Vienna in 1683, a symbolic historic victory of the West over Islam.
- Daham statt Islam ("at home" [i.e., folks who are native to Austria], not Islam)
- Deutsch statt "nix verstehen" (German, not "no understand")
- Pummerin statt Muezzin (Pummerin, not muezzin). Pummerin is the main bell in St. Stephan's Cathedral in Vienna, and so a religious Christian symbol in Vienna.
- Heimat im Herzen (homeland at heart)
- Arbeit statt Zuwanderung (jobs, not immigration)
Jörg Haider said that if he, Haider, had run such a campaign, the press would have been all over him.
2010 Vienna Elections
In the 2010 Vienna elections for mayor, city council, and district councils, Strache's party received 26% of the vote and increased their number of seats in the city council to 27. His support was strongest among young people under 30.
The campaign included slogans such as:
- Zu viel Fremdes tut niemandem gut. (Too many foreigners [or more literally: Too much foreign] does no one good)
- Wir bewahren unsere Heimatstadt. Die SPÖ macht sie uns fremd. (We maintain our homeland. The SPÖ makes it foreign.)
- Wir glauben an unsere Jugend. Die SPÖ an Zuwanderung. (We believe in our youth. The SPÖ in immigration.)
- Wir schützen freie Frauen. Die SPÖ den Kopftuchzwang (We protect women's rights. The SPÖ protects the compulsory veil.)
- Mehr Mut für unser Wiener Blut (More strength for our Viennese blood.)
- Uns, geht's um die Wiener (To us, it's about the Viennese)
Strache was once again accused of xenophobia during his campaign and responded formally in the press to the allegations.
|Party political offices|
|FPÖ Party Chairman
since 23 April 2005