Rightist populism finds fertile soil in rural Austria

The same sort of xenophobic populism that brought Britain out of the European Union and installed Donald Trump in the White house is taking root in Austria, where a Trump-like presidential candidate is finding an increasingly friendly reception.

And much as Trump found his support strongest in America’s agricultural heartland, so is Norbert Hofer finding his most fervent followers down on the farm.

From TheLocal.at:

Prosperous, pretty and almost migrant-free — rural Austria paradoxically offers a happy hunting ground for far-right presidential candidate Norbert Hofer and his populist Freedom Party.

Ask the people of Pinkafeld what makes them proud of their pastel-coloured town set amid pine-strewn hills and many will reply “Our flowers”, followed by “…and our Norbert”.

Like elsewhere in the countryside, the 45-year-old swept most of the votes in Pinkafeld in the first runoff in May, which was annulled over procedural irregularities.

Back then, he lost by a paper-thin margin to the Greens-backed Alexander Van der Bellen.

Now many Pinkafelders hope “Norbert”, as he’s affectionately known, will finally emerge victorious on December 4 — and not just because he’s a local resident.


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