Sunday, 28 September 2008

What the BBC says

Far right gains in Austria vote

Posters showing the Leader of the far-right Fredom Party Heinz-Christian Strache (R) and Social Democrat chairman Werner Faymann.
Austrians are disenchanted with the two main parties

Austria's Social Democrats won the most votes in the country's early election but far right parties made significant gains, the interior ministry has said.

Preliminary official results from Sunday's poll show Social Democrats with 29.7% of the vote.

But the country's two far right parties made large gains, winning a total vote share of 29% between them.

The conservative People's Party, which was in a faltering coalition with the Social Democrats, won 25.6%.

The interior minister, Maria Fekter, said the far right Freedom Party had won 18.01% percent of the vote and the Alliance for the Future of Austria had 10.98%.

The elections were called after Austria's 18-month-old coalition collapsed.

The BBC's Bethany Bell, in Vienna, described the far right gains as a "slap in the face" to the centrist parties, which suffered their worse results since World War II.

Final results will not be released until 6 October after absentee and postal ballots, making up about 10% of the votes, are counted.



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