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Austrian far-right loses power in Haider fiefdom

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Austria's far-right on Sunday lost power in the state of Carinthia, its late leader Joerg Haider's former stronghold, projections from state election results showed.

The Freedom Party's share of the vote more than halved to 20.4 percent from 44.9 percent at the 2009 election, with Chancellor Werner Faymann's Social Democrats (SPOe) scoring 33.9 percent, up from 28.9 percent.

A new eurosceptic party formed in 2012 by Austro-Canadian auto parts billionaire Frank Stronach scored 9.7 percent, the projections by polling institute ARGE indicated.

Haider sent shockwaves through Europe in 2000 when his far-right party became part of the Austrian federal government and even after support fell and his movement split, he remained highly popular in Carinthia.

Haider died in a drink-driving crash in 2008. Support for his party, now called the Freedom Party, has fallen sharply in Carinthia since the last election because of a series of corruption scandals.

The party also lost some support to Stronach, who set up his "Team Stronach" last September in the country he left as a teenager for Canada, where he made his fortune with auto parts giant Magna and horseracing.

stu/boc

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130303/austrian-far-right-loses-power-haider-fiefdom