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JOHN GRAY – Europe’s states of disorder

It is too early to gauge the full impact of the Austrian election and the Italian constitutional referendum. The increased majority for the Green-backed candidate in Austria shows a European electorate refusing to elect a president from an organisation that was founded by a former SS officer. But Norbert Hofer’s Freiheitliche Partei Öster­reichs (Austrian Freedom Party) managed to command nearly 47 per cent of the vote, and with this level of popular support it could still become the country’s largest party in parliamentary elections scheduled to be held by September 2018, which may now well be held earlier. In that event, the FPÖ leader could become chancellor. The creeping advance of the far right across Europe may have paused but it has not stopped.

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