- Title: AUSTRIA: CONSERVATIVES REVIVE GOVERNING COALITION WITH FAR-RIGHT.
- Date: 1st March 2003
- Summary: (EU) VIENNA, AUSTRIA (FEBRUARY 23, 2003)(REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. MEMBERS OF NEW GOVERNMENT STANDING IN GV/PAN/MCU: AUSTRIAN PRESIDENT TOMAS KLESTIL'S OFFICE; MEDIA (2 SHOTS) 0.13 2. MV: VARIOUS OF SIGNING CEREMONY. MEDIA (2 SHOTS) 0.31 3. MV: AUSTRIAN PRESIDENT TOMAS KLESTIL HANDING OVER SIGNED OFFICIAL LIST OF MINISTERS AND GOVERNMENT PROGRAMME TO AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR WOLFGANG SCHUEESEL 0.50 4. SCU: KLESTIL ANNOUNCING NAMES OF MINISTERS 0.57 5. GV/PAN: WIDE OF MINISTERS 1.07 6. MV: kLESTIL SHAKING HANDS WITH MINISTERS 1.11 7. GV: MINISTERS ENTERING ROOM FOR NEWS CONFERENCE 1.28 8. MCU: SOUNDBITE (German) SCHUESSEL, SAYING: "We have successfully consolidated the budget and we want to continue on this path. We have achieved growth possibilities, especially through investment, education and European Union enlargement and we want to continue on this brave path." 1.49 9. GV: MEDIA INSIDE ROOM 1.54 10. MCU: SOUNDBITE (German) AUSTRIAN VICE CHANCELLOR AND FREEDOM PARTY CHAIRMAN, HERBERT HAUPT, SAYING: "We are a strong partner. We were a strong partner and we will remain a strong partner for this legislative period and we will take to this task as only the Freedom party can do. " 2.09 11. MV: CAMERAS 2.16 12. VARIOUS: VARIOUS OF DEMONSTRATION OUTSIDE HOFBURG PALACE/ RIOT POLICE GUARDING THE PALACE (* SHOTS) 3.07 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 16th March 2003 12:00
- Location: VIENNA, AUSTRIA
- Country: Austria
- Reuters ID: LVA2S6CRW65QYABM1VUYE0H503R4
- Story Text: Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel's conservatives
have struck a deal to revive the governing coalition with
Joerg Haider's far-right Freedom Party that collapsed late
Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel's conservatives
ended three months of uncertainty on Friday (February 28) by
reviving the three-year old governing coalition with Joerg
Haiders far-right Freedom Party that collapsed late last year.
Schuessel told reporters the country has achieved growth
possibilities through investment, education and European
"We want to continue on this brave path, " he added.
The cabinet features a weakened presence of the
anti-immigration Freedom Party who have half the number of
ministries that they won in 2000.
Most of the faces in the cabinet are well-known,
particularly that of the popular Karl-Heinz Grasser, an
outspoken critic of the European Central Bank and staunch
supporter of tight fiscal policy.
Austrian President Thomas Klestil signed the official list
of ministers and government programme at a ceremony at
Vienna's luxurious Hofburg palace.
In 2000, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in
Vienna to protest at Schuessel's surprising choice for a
coalition pact with Haider, who drew international scorn after
praising Nazi employment policies and Hitler's Waffen SS --
comments for which he later apologised.
But on Friday (February 28), Austria's anti-Haider
activists were caught off guard by the surprise announcement
and only 200 protesters gathered on Heldenplatz square to
whistled and brandish signs with slogans like "Fight against
blue-black", referring to the two parties colours.
Freedom Party chairman Herbert Haupt attempted to dispel
fears that his far-right represented a source of instability.
"We are a strong partner, we were and will remain a strong
partner," party chief Herbert Haupt said.
Schuessel's party, which won a landslide 42 percent in the
November 24 snap election, opened negotiations earlier this
week with the party that firebrand politician Joerg Haider led
for 15 years until 2000, when it entered a coalition with
In September, Grasser and Vice Chancellor Susanne
Riess-Passer resigned from the cabinet and brought an end to
the coalition after Haider led a revolt in the Freedom Party
over a dispute about Grassers decision to delay promised tax
Grasser had chosen to delay the tax reforms to help the
government pay for the billions of euros of damage caused by
massive flooding in August 2002.
The controversial Freedom Party has threatened to attempt
to veto Czech entry into the European Union due to disputes
about a Czech nuclear power plant near the Austrian border and
Prague's refusal to repeal a series of post-war decrees that
led to the expulsion of millions of ethnic Germans from
Grasser had never supported the Freedom Party's position
against EU enlargement.
The entry of Haider's party into the government in March
2000 prompted the European Union and United States to impose
sanctions against Austria.
Although he is no longer Freedom Party chairman, Haider is
believed to carry a great deal of influence with the party's
current leaders. He is presently governor of the south
Austrian province of Carinthia.
Schuessel's decision to renew the coalition with the
far-right followed unsuccessful talks with the opposition
Social Democrats and Greens, which collapsed on sticking
points such as privatisation and fiscal policy.
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