Austrian Chancellor says his country is not racist

EPA/CHRISTIAN BRUNA

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern waits for participants to arrive for the Summit 'Migration along the Balkan route' in Vienna, Austria, 24 September 2016.

Austrian Chancellor says his country is not racist


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Austria’s Chancellor Christian Kern has denied that Austria is a country full of racists, ahead of the upcoming presidential election which could see the far-right candidate win.

People will vote because of what they are afraid off, said Austria’s Chancellor Christian Kern, adding that Austria is not a country full of racists. He was commenting on the upcoming presidential election in which the far-right candidate, Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party (FPÖ) could win.

In an interview with Italian TV station RAI 3, Kern explained that not everybody who decides to vote for Hofer is necessarily a supporter of far-right ideology. He pointed to the rise in support for the US presidential candidate Donald Trump and the French right-wing populist Marine Le Pen.

“People are choosing to vote against the establishment,” he said.

As reported by The Local, Hofer narrowly failed to be elected president in a runoff election in May after being beaten by independent ecologist Alexander Van der Bellen by just 31,000 votes. But the FPÖ managed to have the election annulled in July because of procedural irregularities. The re-run of the vote will now take place on December 4th.

Hofer and Van der Bellen are running neck-and-neck in opinion polls.

In a separate report, Italy’s ANSAmed news agency noted that the Italy-Austria border at Brenner will open without major checks, as announced by Kern.

“I wasn’t in favour of the wall and I’m not in favour of it now,” Kern was quoted as saying during his interview with RAI 3 radio. “It is clear that within Europe we should avoid building internal borders. We believe it is much more efficient to help the migrants in their home countries. This is where Europe needs to provide answers.”

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