>Austria is in the middle of a presidential campaign. It’s not quite the same as in the USA, as the Bundespräsident is more of a ceremonial figurehead (like Germany, we’ve got a Chancellor who does all the political heavy lifting.) This year’s election has been mildly interesting with the rightwing candidacy of Barbara Rosenkranz of the FPÖ. The Austrian wingers have obviously been following the GOP’s doings, and there has been a lot of screeching about our incumbent, Social Democrat Heinz Fischer, being all sorts of things (I’m surprised they haven’t called him a Muslim yet.)
Anyway, Rosenkranz has a few things in common with Sarah Palin, although I reckon she’s a lot smarter. She left her university studies unfinished, married and had ten children, and got into regional politics in the nineties. Although I hesitate to discuss physical traits, it must be said that she’s not as attractive as Ms. Palin, but presents more the image of a businesswoman in sensible shoes. She could be Barbara Bush’s daughter. Her über-motherhood is, of course, being used as a character plus, much the was it has been with Palin.
She’s all the things you expect from the FPÖ: against same-sex marriage, against immigration, sympathetic to Nazis. She is married to Horst Rosenkranz, a publicist and former politician who’s out there in the land of the extreme right. (I am curious about the origins of his last name.) Frau Rosenkranz claims not to share his extremist views.
The election takes place next weekend. Meanwhile, the campaign goes on, sometimes with humorous results. Christliche Partei candidate Rudolf Gehring made a campaign stop at a retirement home, but had the bad luck of showing up, with reporters, at the same time as the very popular Hula-dance class.
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