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04-Oct-2017 18:05

Throughout his political career Strache has insisted he is not a Nazi, and that his actions have been misunderstood and misrepresented by his political opponents.The election shows how great a driver of votes is antagonism towards Muslims.Either they share power now or they'll increase their share of the vote even more dramatically next time because they would be the only opposition.And it is this which makes the Austrian election so destabilising for a wobbly EU where discontent with Brussels's agenda keeps bubbling to the surface.Anti-Islam has a long history in Austria, from 1683 when the Turks besieged Vienna.And recently decades of migration from Turkey has changed the make-up of Vienna and other big cities with the growth of what the FPO describe as 'Muslim ghettos' populated by 'jihadists'.It has ushered into power not only the youngest leader on the world stage, but one who is poised to form a government with a Far Right party — one that was founded by a former Nazi — which campaigned on an extreme nationalist, Eurosceptic and anti-immigration ticket.

The traditional colour black was dumped in favour of turquoise and it developed into a 'movement' centred around this leader who lived up to his nickname of Wunderwuzzi (boy who can perform miracles) with a pitch-perfect campaign that persuaded Austrians, especially the young voters, that he could deliver change.Maybe Brussels hopes to tame Kurz, but Wunderwuzzi knows his popularity could fade fast if he reneges on his electoral promises and drifts back to the centre.That is the hold the FPO now has over Austrian politics.On top of Brexit, Catalonia's bid for independence, the growing discontent of Eastern European member states, and Greece's endless debt problems, Brussels now must contend with Austria's sudden transformation from model member to bad boy.

And it is precisely the youth of the next Austrian Chancellor which is a factor that bewilders Brussels.Restoring order and security were his watchwords and his manifesto called for illegal migration into Europe to be stopped, benefits cut for asylum seekers and a ban on welfare payments to non-Europeans unless they'd lived in Austria for five years.