'Closet-Nazi' in running for Austrian presidency

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A far-Right candidate for Austria's presidential election has brought the country's dark past to the surface again, by denouncing a law banning Nazi groups and Holocaust denial.

Barbara Rosenkranz, 51, a regional leader of the Freedom Party (FPOe), looks likely to be the only candidate to run against the incumbent, President Heinz Fischer, on April 25.

But her comments supporting the scrapping of the tough prohibition law have renewed the debate about a heritage with which the country, which was under Nazi rule from 1938 to 1945, has never fully come to terms.

Under the 1947 Verbotsgesetz law, anyone who seeks to set up a Nazi organisation, propagates Nazi ideology or denies Nazi crimes can be jailed for up to 20 years.

But Rosenkranz, a mother of 10 and the wife of an outspoken figure in Austria's far-Right scene, insists the law constitutes "an unnecessary restriction" and that, on the contrary, people should be allowed freedom of opinion.

In 2003, the European Court of Human Rights already allowed a journalist's description of her as a "closet-Nazi", noting that her attitude towards Nazism was ambiguous.

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