Austria's 'Reich Mother' poised to return far-Right to prominence

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A far-Right politician whose support for Holocaust deniers and 10 children have earned her the nickname “Reich Mother” is poised to take her Freedom Party to second place in Austria’s presidential race on Sunday.

Campaigning on an anti-immigrant, anti-Islam, anti-feminist ticket, Barbara Rosenkranz, 51, is poised to pave the way for her party to return to its glory days a decade ago under Jörg Haider, the popular and charismatic leader who died in a car crash in 2008.

Mrs Rosenkranz has shocked Austria by calling for the country’s Holocaust denial laws to be repealed. She later signed a statement distancing herself from Nazism.

Germany’s Central Council of Jews has described Mrs Rosenkranz’s position as the main electoral challenger to Heinz Fischer, 71, the Austrian president, as part of a “terrifying shift to the Right” across Europe, following recent gains for far-Right parties in Hungary and France over the last two months.

Earlier this month, the far-Right took more parliamentary seats in neighbouring Hungary’s national elections than at any time since the Second World War and French regional elections last month saw an electoral revival for the National Front. In June, Dutch elections could propel Geert Wilders, whose anti-Islamic, hard-Right Freedom Party leads the polls, into power.

While the role of president in Austria is largely symbolic, it still has significant moral influence, and Mrs Rosenkranz’s personal background and political views have polarised the campaign.

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