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Vilimsky Set to Remain Leader of Austria’s Far-right in Brussels

Far-right networker Harald Vilimsky is set to once again become the lead candidate of the Freedom Party in the 2024 elections, party chief Herbert Kickl announced on Sunday, adding that he could image no better candidate than him.

Vilimsky is considered a key player in the far-right wing of the FPÖ and was the party’s lead candidate in 2019. He and his party are polling around 30% in national opinion polls.

“Harald Vilimsky, that is the rock on which we build our election campaign,” FPÖ party chief Kickl said on Sunday.

“We will support our Harald with all our might against this dictate from Brussels,” he stressed, adding that the EU had become the “biggest [European] warmonger” seen in decades.

Vilimsky, for his part, said that he’d undo all centralisation in Brussels if he could. “This was a radical call for reform” but not a call to leave the bloc altogether, he added.

Instead, he has been a major proponent of deeper integration among Eurosceptics. The allies he had found in his fight ranged “from Viktor Orbán to Marine Le Pen.”

The centre-left SPÖ is similarly betting on a known face, Andreas Schieder, as Der Standard reported. He has been leading the party’s delegation in Brussels since 2019 and is considered a favourite of the Viennese faction of the party.

Meanwhile, the lead candidates of the Greens and the centre-right ÖVP are far from certain.

Conservative mainstay Othmar Karas has been a frequent and vocal critic of his party’s policies in Vienna – including a Schengen blockade for Romania and Bulgaria.

Source: Euractiv