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Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ#

Freiheitliche Partei Oesterreichs (The Austrian Freedom Party), FPOe, founded in 1955; successor to the Verband der Unabhaengigen (1949-1955) as a collective party of the "third camp" (anti-clerical and anti-socialist as well as liberal and nationalist). In the early stages the party was poorly organised and strongly nationalist; however in the mid-1960s federal party leader F. Peter, managed to lead the party out of its isolation ("ghetto party"). In 1970/1971 the FPOe supported the minority government of the SPOe (Austrian Social Democratic Party). Starting in the mid-1970s the FPOe began shifting toward the OeVP ( Oesterreichische Volkspartei, Austrian People's Party) under the leadership of A. Goetz, and later toward the SPOe ( Sozialdemokratische Partei Oesterreichs). Under N. Steger the FPOe was involved in government for the first time (SPOe-FPOe coalition 1983-1986). Internal dissatisfaction within the party led in 1986 to a change in party leadership and to the election of J. Haider as federal party leader, who adopted a strategy of protest ("attack instead of agree"). Ever since, the FPOe has been in opposition and seen significant success in elections and in 1999 achieved the second largest number of votes. The party entered into a coalition with the OeVP in 2000. As reaction to the FPOe's participation in government, the 14 other member states of the EU imposed sanctions on Austria. J. Haider was replaced by S. Riess-Passer as federal party leader.

In 1979, under A. Goetz, the FPOe joined the "Liberal International", founded in 1947, but left the organisation in 1993, thus anticipating the threat of expulsion. The FPOe relies for the most part on the number of its voters rather than on party members. The number of members climbed from 22,000 (1959) to 54,000 (1997). Three quarters of the FPOe's members come from the provinces of Carinthia, Upper Austria, Styria und Salzburg, which have great influence within the party. After the party began focusing on the personality of its federal party leader, J. Haider from 1989 onward, the FPOe achieved success in provincial elections as well. In 1999 the FPOe became the strongest party in Carinthia and Haider became Provincial Governor (Landeshauptmann). Organisations affiliated with the FPOe include: Ring Freiheitlicher Studenten (Ring of Liberal Students (RFS)), Ring Freiheitlicher Wirtschaftstreibender (Ring of Liberal Businesspersons (RFW)), Allgemeiner oesterreichischer Bauernverband (Austrian Association of Farmers) and the Verband Freiheitlicher Akademiker (Association of Liberal University Graduates), the publishers of the magazine "Aula".

The party has always been characterised by tensions between its liberal and nationalistic traditions. In addition the FPOe has turned into a populistic protest party. The "nationwide petition on foreigners" (with the catch-phrase: "Austria first") initiated by Haider in 1993 caused a portion of the FPOe to split off under the leadership of the deputy party chairperson Heide Schmidt and led to the formation of the Liberales Forum. The party newspaper is the "Neue Freie Zeitung" (previously "Neue Front"). Since 1995 the FPOe has also been known by its second name "Die Freiheitlichen" ("The Freedomites") (F).