Freedom Party presidential candidate Norbert Hofer has launched his campaign for the re-run of the election, promising to keep Austrians safe from terrorism and the impact of mass migration. “Power Requires Control” is one of the new slogans for the populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) presidential candidate. His campaign team formally launched the new presidential election re-run campaign Wednesday revealing that Hofer would be pushing the issue of security.
The stance comes in the face of increased acts of terror in Europe and the increases in criminality from the migrant population in Austria. Hofer’s team, led by FPÖ MP Herbert Kickl, also took the chance to slam his October 2nd opponent Alexander Van der Bellen Die Presse reports.
The slogan “Power Requires Control” was used in a previous presidential election by former conservative president Thomas Klestil who was a frequent critic of the government during his term as Austria’s tenth president. The attitude of Hofer toward the current government is much in the same vein as he and FPÖ leader Heinz Christian Strache have repeatedly slammed the government for its migrant policies over the last year.
FPÖ MP Kickl, who headed the press conference that revealed the new campaign posters, said that the comparison to the previous conservative president wasn’t an attempt to bring over voters from the establishment party but rather a rallying cry to common sense. Kickl stressed that Hofer sees himself as “a necessary counterbalance to the power cartel,” of the European Union leadership in Brussels and the governments of larger countries like Germany and France.
Kickl also used the platform to lay into Hofer’s presidential rival Alexander Van der Bellen saying that the former Green party leader would just be an extension of the power of the European Union. Van der Bellen has long professed to be a Europhile and against the concept of strong nation states.
Kickl remarked that the posters of Van der Bellen in the countryside of his native Burgenland were insincere and that Van der Bellen and the Green party had as much to do with patriotism as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had to do with human rights.
Hofer, according to his campaign, is also looking more toward integration of foreigners into Austrian culture rather than Austrians accommodating other cultures. Kickl also mentioned that Van der Bellen would like to open up the jobs market in Austria to foreigners while the unemployment rate among Austrians continues to grow.
While he slammed Van der Bellen, Hofer’s campaign manager had some praise for conservative Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz who has called for a strengthening of asylum laws and like Hofer has criticized Turks who have protested in support of Turkish president Erdogan in the wake of the failed coup against him last month. Kurz demanded that Turks in Austria remain loyal to Austria or leave the country.
Early polls show that Hofer is leading Van der Bellen going into the October 2nd vote by several percentage points.