- Title: AUSTRIA/FILE: Austria's far right leader Joerg Haider dies in car crash
- Date: 11th October 2008
- Summary: (BN04) UNIDENTIFED LOCATION, AUSTRIA (FILE) (REUTERS) HAIDER DANCING AT EVENT
- Embargoed: 26th October 2008 12:00
- Topics: Obituaries,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA6Q72ZFZXUW1MFM4TM1G21H2X0
- Story Text: Austrian far right leader Joerg Haider was killed in a car accident on Saturday (October 11), the national news agency APA reported.
It quoted police as saying Haider died after suffering severe head and chest injuries when a car he was driving went out of control and rolled over several times outside the southern city of Klagenfurt. APA said he was alone in the car.
Rightist groups surged to a combined 30 percent of the vote in a national parliamentary election last month, with Haider's smaller Alliance for Austria's Future tripling its support to around 12 percent.
Haider, born in 1950 and active in politics since his teenage years, became a full-time politician in 1977 for the right-wing Freedom Party.
He caused an international backlash when the Freedom Party formed a coalition government with the conservative People's Party in 2000, triggering widespread condemnation and European Union sanctions.
The deal fell apart, leading to an early election in 2002 in which the Freedom Party lost heavily, followed by a remake of the coalition.
After internecine struggles within the Freedom Party, Haider formed the breakaway Alliance for the Future of Austria in 2005. His new party only just scraped past the 4 percent threshold to enter parliament in a national election in 2006.
Haider made headlines by campaigning on an anti-immigration ticket and with verbal gaffes.
He once reproached Austria's government by citing the "proper labour policies" of the Third Reich. On another occasion he referred to concentration camps in a parliamentary debate as "penal camps".
Haider was also widely condemned for meeting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 2002, which he said was a "purely humanitarian" matter.
Born in Upper Austria, his father was a former member of Adolf Hitler's brown-shirted storm troopers. His mother was a teacher who had been a Hitler Youth leader.
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