Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Tuesday, 29 February, 2000, 02:01 GMT
Analysis: Haider's tactical move
Joerg Haider
Mr Haider's political career is far from over
By the BBC's Katya Adler in Vienna

One thing is always true of Joerg Haider - he is full of surprises.

Just this weekend, he told a leading Austrian magazine that he aimed to be voted Chancellor in Austria's next elections.

Shortly after that interview he resigned as the Freedom Party leader.

Some describe it as an impetuous gesture, provoked by the harsh criticism, both at home and abroad, since the right-wing Freedom Party joined the Austrian government at the beginning of February.

Haider press conference
He insists he is not retiring from national politics
Yet there is strong reason to believe that Joerg Haider's resignation was in fact a tactical move. It is by no means the end of his political career.

Mr Haider will remain the governor of Carinthia, Austria's southernmost province, awarding him a lower political profile and diverting hostile attention away from him.

Mr Haider has another good reason to distance himself from the Freedom Party leadership.

Broken promises

Whereas it was strong in opposition, the party has so far made a feeble impression in government, breaking several of its key election promises, such as not to increase taxes or raise the minimum pension age.

Another problem facing the Freedom Party is that its government ministers are rumoured to be too inexperienced for their new jobs.

The 31 year-old Finance Minister, Karl-Heinz Grasser, has a huge national deficit and a budget to balance over the next three weeks - a challenge many say he will not be able to meet.

As a regional governor and no longer the party head, such a political shambles can do no damage to Mr Haider's political career, and might enable him to rise out of the tatters of the present centre-right coalition and offer himself as the new party leader and Austrian Chancellor.

In the meantime, there is little doubt that, although no longer the leader of the Freedom Party in name, Joerg Haider's influence will continue to cast a long shadow over Vienna politics as long as his ministers remain in government.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Europe Contents

Country profiles
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories