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It looks very much as if the motivation was to win back voters from the far-right parties; assuming that they were attracted by those parties' Eurosceptic, xenophobic, keep-Turkey-outside-of-the-EU rhetoric, and that the SPÖ has to approach these themes its own way. But the new line didn't came down well at all with the more traditional clientele of the SPÖ, and their supporters in the media. All of these and the party bureaucracy were also pissed by learning of such a major policy change from a newspaper article, what's more, an article in a questionable tabloid (see upthread).
So as much as I would welcome a more democratic approach to EU reform, I don't like what Gusenbauer and Faymann did at all.
Meanwhile, while everyone knows Haider, he is no more the big menance. As you can see from the poll numbers in the diary, Haider's attempt of ditching and re-establishing his party didn't really work out: he could retain his stable local base, but most far-right voters stayed with the FPÖ. The FPÖ's new leader Heinz-Christian Strache, who comes from the party's former second strongest base Vienna, is even more hardcore on the hate front (he even had connections with open neo-Nazis in his youth). And just like Haider, he is a politician winning votes as much with hot rhetoric as with good appearance:
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
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