Global Independent Analytics
Lionel Baland
Lionel Baland

Location: Belgium

Specialization: Euroscepticism, Patriotic parties of Europe

Jörg Haider or the Politic of the Bastion

In the world, the name of governor Jörg Haider is more famous than anyone else from Carinthia.

In his political career, Jörg Haider has systematically used the politic of the bastion to tighten his power.

Between the end of WWII and the fall of the Iron Curtain, two main parties had their hands on the Austrian politics for decennia: the socialist party SPÖ and the conservative/Christian democratic ÖVP. A third one, the liberal and patriotic FPÖ was a small contender. The two main parties shared among their members the power and the administrative functions from the top of the state to cleaning lady jobs in local schools. Austria became neutral from 1955 when the Allied forces of WWII (Soviet Union, USA, United Kingdom and France) went out of the country. At this time, Austria was a quiet place protected from the flux of the world by the Iron Curtain and the Alps. Large segments of the economy were under the control of big state companies. The unemployment rate was low and the people had life-long jobs, mainly working for public companies. But in the 1980s, this system began cracking down. The unemployment rate started going up, the jobs were less stable and Austria got migrants from third world countries.

The FPÖ was established in 1955 and succeeded at the VdU - erected in 1949. These two parties were in the tradition of the liberal national political family based on the liberal revolution of 1848. At the head of the FPÖ were nationalists or liberals. In 1980, the liberal Norbert Steger became president of the FPÖ. He wanted to make his party more presentable. In consequence, the FPÖ lost electoral support but went in the government with the socialists. The FPÖ was closed to disappear from the Austrian Parliament. Jörg Haider took over FPÖ at the Innsbruck Congress in 1986. From this date onwards, the FPÖ started growing from one election to another.

In his political career, Jörg Haider used systematically the politic of the bastion to tighten his power. His stronghold was Carinthia, one of the nine Austrian states. When he was in a difficult political situation at the national level, Jörg Haider would lean on it everytime and when he was not active in the capital city of the country – Vienna -, he was working at the political reinforcement of his stronghold. At the national and international level, Carinthia was for Jörg Haider a showcase of his politics.

The mid-1970s: Jörg Haider called to Carinthia

The president of the FPÖ of Carinthia, Mario Ferrari-Brunnenfeld, called Jörg Haider - the national president of the youth organization of the party - to help him in modernizing the party in Carinthia. Before coming to this part of the country, Jörg Haider said he will visit with Mario Ferrari-Brunnenfeld every village of Carinthia to win voters for the FPÖ. On September 1, 1976, Jörg Haider became the secretary of the party in Carinthia and secretary of the FPÖ parliamentarian group of the Carinthian Parliament. In the 1979 national elections, Jörg Haider won the first place on the list of the party in Carinthia and was elected as an Austrian MP. In 1983, he became the president of the FPÖ of Carinthia and FPÖ minister in the Carinthian government. In the September 1984 elections for the Parliament of Carinthia, FPÖ grew from 11.7 % in the previous elections to 16 %.

In September 1986, Jörg Haider from the nationalist wing won against Norbert Steger from the liberal wing and was elected president of the FPÖ. The day after, the socialist Chancellor of Austria of  SPÖ, Franz Vranitzky, broke up the SPÖ-FPÖ coalition, because the SPÖ could not agree to stay in a government with a party headed by a nationalist. At the national elections, the FPÖ doubled its results and got 9.73 %.

Governor of Carinthia

In the 1989 elections for the Parliament of Carinthia, the FPÖ led by Jörg Haider got 29%. After a deal with the conservative party, Haider was elected by members of the Parliament of Carinthia as Governor of Carinthia. He stopped being a Member of the Austrian Parliament. He started to implement his politics and began transforming Carinthia and turned it into his showcase. He had a lot of contacts with people on the street and decided that every citizen was allowed to enter the palace of the government. He did a reform of the administration making it closer to the citizens. He canceled part of the privileges of the politicians and civil servants. He depoliticized the firemen unit. He abolished the state’s financial sustainment of the political parties’ media. He canceled promotions in the administration based on the card of membership in parties and initiated a merit-based promotion.

Following a misinterpretation of his words, he had to resign in 1991. In 1992, he became the chief of the group of FPÖ Members in the Austrian Parliament and concentrated his efforts on the national level. In the 1994 elections for the Parliament of Carinthia, Jörg Haider was elected as head of the FPÖ list. The party got 33%. At the 1994 national elections, Jörg Haider used the slogans “They are against him because he is for you” and “Simply honest, Simply Jörg”. The FPÖ got 22.5 % and 42 MP. In the 1995 national elections, the FPÖ obtained 21.9 %. In the 1999 elections for the Parliament of Carinthia, FPÖ got 42.1%.  Jörg Haider was again elected by the parliament as governor of Carinthia and left his MP position at the national level.

The FPÖ in the national government

At the 1999 national elections, the FPÖ got 26.9 %. Despite the international pressures against it, FPÖ and the Christian Democratic/Conservative ÖVP formed a government at the beginning of February 2000. The chancellor was Wolfgang Schüssel from the ÖVP and the vice-chancellor the FPÖ Susanne Riess-Passer of FPÖ. On February 28, 2000, Jörg Haider announced that he left the presidency of the FPÖ and wanted to concentrate on his activities as Governor of Carinthia. On May 1, 2000, Susanne Riess-Passer was elected as president of the party.

In 2002, the FPÖ lost in opinion polls a lot of support. In June, Jörg Haider told Susanne Riess-Passer that he wanted a com back as head of the party. She answered that if he wanted that, he has to take her function of vice-chancellor too. Jörg Haider refused. After this, a lot of fights started between Susanne Riess-Passer and Jörg Haider, with the latter trying to take back the control of the party and the government, but at the same time trying to keep Susanne Riess-Passer as vice-chancellor. After losing the battle, Susanne Riess-Passer announced her departure from the government. Wolfgang Schüssel of ÖVP took advantage of this situation and dissolved the government. In the 2002 national elections, FPÖ got 10.01 % (against 26.91 % in 1999) and fell from 52 to 18 MPs.  ÖVP was the big winner. A new ÖVP-FPÖ government was founded. Susanne Riess-Passer left politics. In 2003, Jörg Haider tried to come back to the head of the FPÖ. At this time, the situation was bad for the party in Austria and Jörg Haider in Carinthia. The political analysts thought it was the end of his political career. The journalists wrote that Haider’s era was over. In the different events, only his close friends and collaborators were around him. The others disdained him.

Fighting to preserve his stronghold

Running for the Carinthian Parliament on the March 2004 electoral campaign, Jörg Haider spent 18 hours a day on the road, meeting people, shaking thousands of hands. He was in the pubs late in the evenings speaking with the common people. The FPÖ got 42.4 %, a tiny bit more than the elections in 1999. The Parliament of Carinthia reelected him as the Governor.

The split-up

The Austrian government became more and more unpopular. Inside the FPÖ, there were a lot of troubles: one wing - with Ewald Stadler, Heinz-Christian Strache and Andreas Mölzer - openly criticized the leadership of the party and called for the end of the ÖVP-FPÖ government to regain the political health of FPÖ. Jörg Haider and the ministers of the party didn’t agree and wanted to pursue a governmental coalition. Everybody was waiting for a big battle between the leaders of the two wings: Jörg Haider and Heinz-Christian Strache. But in April 2005, Jörg Haider founded a new party: the BZÖ (Bündnis Zukunft Österreich - Alliance for the Future of Austria). His sister left the presidency of FPÖ and joined the BZÖ, as did 16 of the 18 MPs and ministers. The party’s apparatus and base stayed in the FPÖ. The FPÖ of Carinthia - the stronghold of the party and Jörg Haider – left the FPÖ and joined the BZÖ. Jörg Haider was expelled from the FPÖ. He was than elected president of the BZÖ and H.C. Strache was elected as head of the FPÖ.

There were suddenly two patriotic parties: the BZÖ with the people wanting to stay to stay in the power, and the FPÖ that collected those who needed to be in the opposition. The BZÖ had members only in Carinthia and was very weak in other areas.

The BZÖ appeared nearer to the center and could have been used by Jörg Haider in the future to get elected as Chancellor or to enter into a governmental coalition led by him. In the regional elections in Styria and then in Vienna, FPÖ dropped and the BZÖ got very bad results. Jörg Haider was totally desperate: the voters didn’t follow him. It seemed to be the end of the world, but he decided to continue his fight and pushed Peter Westenthaler to the presidency of the BZÖ.

In Carinthia, an allowance of money for the children has established: 800 euros for the first one, 900 for the second one and 1,000 for the third one.

In the October 2006 national elections, the BZÖ got 4.11 % (24.9 % in Carinthia and between 1.7 % and 3.3 % in other Austrian states - just above the 4 % electoral threshold) and 7 MPs. The FPÖ got 11.04 % and 21 MPs.

A new government was made between the SPÖ (1) and the ÖVP. The two patriotic parties were left outside. But this government collapsed less than two years later, and the political campaign for the new elections started.

Impossible mission

The BZÖ was at 2% in the opinion polls and didn’t have any chance to reach the 4 % threshold (or a direct mandate) to get once again an MP. Jörg Haider announced he will be the head of the list of BZÖ and will move to Vienna only to be the Austrian Chancellor. If not, he will stay as the governor in Carinthia. The different leaders of the main parties took part at “political duels” on the national public television ORF and August 22, a duel was held between Jörg Haider of the BZÖ and Heinz-Christian Strache of the FPÖ. One week later, Jörg Haider became the president of the BZÖ.

Carinthia, shopping window of the Haider’s politics

In the electoral campaign, Jörg Haider used once again his stronghold of Carinthia as a showcase of his politics. At this time, the strong rising oil prices led to the increase in the cost of living. In Carinthia, Jörg Haider and his team took steps to fight against it: 25,000 persons got 200 euros for singles or 300 euros for heads of a family. Carinthia opened low-priced petrol stations. This situation forced the other service stations’ companies to adapt their prices. The heating subsidy was doubled and the housing help was increased.

Political resurrection and physical death

On September 28, the BZÖ got 10.7 % and 21 MPs and the FPÖ got 17.54 % and 34 MP. The BZÖ wanted to take part in the government. In the FPÖ, there were different conflicting ideas but the president Heinz-Christian Strache didn’t want to participate in the government because he thought it would lead to a disaster as after 2000. He wanted first to concentrate on the FPÖ and to focus on the future elections for the Parliament of the city/state of Vienna. (2) On  October 8, a meeting took place between Heinz-Christian Strache and Herbert Kickl from the FPÖ and Jörg Haider and Stefan Petzner from the BZÖ. The two patriotic parties had converged and didn’t rule out building a tripartite coalition with the conservatives of ÖVP. But in the night between the 10th and 11th of October, Jörg Haider died in a car accident. In Carinthia, the sun had fallen from the sky. On October 18, tens of thousands of people took part in the funeral service in the presence of many high-ranking Austrian politicians and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. (3) Around a million people watched the live television coverage.  The funeral service was held in Klagenfurt, the capital city of Carinthia and Jörg Haider’s stronghold.

Victory from the afterlife

In March 1, 2009, elections for the Parliament of Carinthia, BZÖ got nearly 45 %, and FPÖ got less than 4 %: one of every two voters chose the nationalists.

In the world, the name of governor Jörg Haider is more famous than anyone else from Carinthia.

(1) SPÖ: Socialist Party of Austria (Sozialistische Partei Österreichs) until 1991 and afterward the Social Democratic Party of Austria (Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs).

(2) Vienna is a city and one of the nine Austrian states.

(3) Saif al-Islam Gaddafi: son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and a friend of Jörg Haider.

Related ARTICLES

THE ISLAMIZATION OF EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

THE ISLAMIZATION OF EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

This is the current point of the Islamization of European football, a phenomenon that began decades ago, and that each season progresses further.
The French conservative political figure Ivan Blot tries to spread some realities about Russia

The French conservative political figure Ivan Blot tries to spread some realities about Russia

Some people in France are thinking that Russia is still communist but this idea is in his view a total nonsense.

15 January 2016

by Lionel Baland

POPULAR ARTICLES

Not Found

OPINION

Vladimir Golstein

Vladimir Golstein

The Danderous Acceptance of Donald Trump

James N. Green

James N. Green

Politics in Brazil: Fasten Your Seat Belts!

Barbara H. Peterson

Barbara H. Peterson

Health officials confirm spread of Zika virus through sexual contact in Texas, first in US

Danny Haiphong

Danny Haiphong

WHY IS OTTO(SUPER)MAN ERDOGAN LOSING HIS CHARISMA?

Miray Aslan

Miray Aslan

How relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a breaking point

Navid Nasr

Navid Nasr

How relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a breaking point

Writers

chief editor

Joshua Tartakovsky

Analysis should serve as a method to better understand our world, not to obscure it.

Materials: 42

Specialization: Israel and the Middle East, US politics

Materials: 7

Specialization: Balkans, NATO and EU policies, Strategic communications

Materials: 3

Specialization: Foreign politics, Immigration, Human rights.

Materials: 2

Specialization: Political Science, Social Anthropology

Materials: 3

Specialization: Eastern Europe

Materials: 14

Specialization: Industrial Safety, Corporations

Materials: 12

Specialization: Eastern Europe, Labor movement

Materials: 3

Specialization: American history, way of life, and principles

Danielle Ryan

Ireland

Materials: 10

Specialization: US foreign policy, US-Russia relations and media bias

Materials: 20

Specialization: War, Racism, Capitalist exploitation, Civil rights

Materials: 8

Specialization: Modern Japanese History, Modern Chinese History, Military History, History of Counterinsurgency, History of Disobedience, Dynamics of Atrocities in Wartime

Dovid Katz

Lithuania

Materials: 3

Specialization: Holocaust Revisionism and Geopolitics; East European Far Right & Human Rights; Yiddish Studies & Litvak Culture

Materials: 20

Specialization: History, Catalunya, Spain, Geopolitics, Nationalism in Europe, Islamization, Immigration

Materials: 5

Materials: 3

Specialization: migration, international relations

Materials: 1

Specialization: Syria, US Foreign policy and strategies, BRICS/SCO

Materials: 19

Specialization: Balkans, Yugoslavia

Materials: 10

Specialization: Jihadist Groups, Islamic Terrorism, Global Security

Materials: 4

Specialization: Geopolitics

Materials: 4

Specialization: Media and government relations

Materials: 2

Specialization: Latin America, Brazil

Jay Watts

Canada

Materials: 2

Specialization: History, Marxism-Leninism, Imperialism, Anti-imperialism.

Materials: 2

Specialization: International Relations, Sociology, Geostrategy

Materials: 1

Specialization: civil rights

Lionel Baland

Belgium

Materials: 22

Specialization: Euroscepticism, Patriotic parties of Europe

Maram Susli

Australia

Materials: 3

Specialization: Geopolitics

Materials: 2

Specialization: Civil rights, Racism, US politics

Materials: 1

Specialization: geopolitics, economics

Max J. Schindler

Palestine-Israel

Materials: 9

Specialization: Politics

Miray Aslan

Turkey

Materials: 12

Specialization: Media, Politics

Materials: 5

Specialization: Politics, International relations

Navid Nasr

Croatia

Materials: 13

Specialization: Global security, Politics

Materials: 9

Specialization: Development of European Union, Non-governmental organizations, Politics and economics in Baltic States

Materials: 9

Specialization: Greece, Crisis of the US hegemony; Israel / Occupied Palestine, Oppression of Black people in the US

Materials: 4

Specialization: geopolitics, Russia, USSR

Pedro Marin

Brazil

Materials: 17

Specialization: Latin America, Ukraine, North Korea

Materials: 13

Specialization: Sustainable development, International relations, Comparative European politics, European integration, Eastern European politics and EU-Russia relations

Materials: 8

Specialization: Politics

Materials: 16

Specialization: Counterterrorist Finance

Seyit Aldogan

Greece

Materials: 3

Specialization: ISIS, Middle East, Globalization, Migrant crisis

Materials: 1

Specialization: Head of "Srebrenica Historical Project"

Materials: 3

Specialization: Economy, Social politics

Stevan Gajic

Serbia

Materials: 1

Specialization: Full time researcher at the Institute for European Studies

Materials: 5

Specialization: Geopolitics, Geoeconomics

Materials: 2

Specialization: Civil rights

Tobias Nase

Germany

Materials: 8

Specialization: Syria, US Foreign policy, Ukraine

Valerijus Simulik

Lithuania

Materials: 2

Specialization: Politics and economics in Baltic States, education and science, non - governmental organizations, globalization and EU

Van Gelis

Greece

Materials: 17

Specialization: Middle East

Materials: 1

Specialization: Kosovo, Serbia, Belgrad bombing

Materials: 5

Specialization: international relations, Russia

toTop