Aus­trian far-right aban­dons ‘Nazi flower’

The Daily Telegraph - - World news - By Justin Hug­gler in Ber­lin

A FAR-RIGHT party ex­pected to be part of Aus­tria’s new coali­tion gov­ern­ment has given up wear­ing a flower as­so­ci­ated with the Thir­ties Nazi move­ment in the coun­try.

When MPS from the Free­dom Party (FPÖ) took their seats at Thurs­day’s open­ing ses­sion of par­lia­ment, they were not wear­ing their cus­tom­ary but­ton­holes of blue corn­flower but edel­weiss, a white and yel­low Alpine flower and tra­di­tional Aus­trian sym­bol that is best known out­side the coun­try for its ap­pear­ance in The Sound of Mu­sic.

The FPÖ’S use of the corn­flower has caused con­tro­versy in Aus­tria, where it was used as a se­cret sign of sup­port for the banned Nazi party in the Thir­ties.

The de­ci­sion by its 51 MPS to ditch the flower was wel­comed by Se­bas­tian Kurz, the 31-year-old who is ex­pected to be­come Aus­tria’s next chan­cel­lor af­ter win­ning last month’s elec­tion. He said: “A new leg­isla­tive pe­riod is al­ways an op­por­tu­nity for a fresh start.”

Mr Kurz is cur­rently in talks on form­ing a new coali­tion with the Free- dom Party’s sup­port af­ter his cen­treright Peo­ple’s Party (ÖVP) failed to win an out­right ma­jor­ity.

Heinz-chris­tian Stra­che, the Free­dom Party leader who is in line to be­come vice-chan­cel­lor, said the party had cho­sen the edel­weiss as a sym­bol of “courage, brav­ery and love”.

Mr Stra­che was ar­rested in Ger­many in 1989 for tak­ing part in a Hitler Youth­style torch­lit neo-nazi rally. He has also been pho­tographed pos­ing with guns along­side known neo-nazis.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.