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    Austria's controversial far-right leader Haider dies in a road accident

    HotNewsTurkey with wires
    11 Ekim 2008 - 08:19Son Güncelleme : 11 Ekim 2008 - 08:22

    Austrian politician Joerg Haider, whose far-right rhetoric at times cast a negative light on the Alpine republic, has died in a car accident on Saturday at age 58.

    "The governor of Carinthia and leader of the BZOe (Alliance for Austria's Future) Joerg Haider died after a car accident early Saturday in Klagenfurt", the capital of his home state, the APA news agency said.

     

    Haider, 58, was at the wheel of his official car in the south of Klagenfurt when it veered off the road for unknown reasons.

     

    He suffered serious injuries to his head and chest and died shortly after the accident, APA added.

     

    Haider, Austria's most notorious post-war politician, headed the Alliance for Austria's Future after turning the country's Freedom Party (FPOe) into a political force in the 1980s and 1990s and prompting EU sanctions against Austria in 2000.

     

    Haider, who was born Jan. 26, 1950, was governor of Carinthia and leader of the far-right Alliance for the Future of Austria at the time of his death.

     

    "For us, its like the end of the world," Haider’s spokesman, Stefan Petzner, told the APA.

     

    In 1999, Haider raked in 27 percent of the vote in national elections as leader of the Freedom Party.

     

    The party's subsequent inclusion in the government led to months of European Union sanctions over Haider’s statements, which were seen as anti-Semitic or sympathetic to Adolf Hitlers labor policies. He had since significantly toned down his rhetoric.

     

    Perpetually tanned, athletic and stylish, he transformed from a young firebrand to an experienced politician in the past decade, helping his young BZOe party, only founded in 2005, to its best result in general elections held last month.

     

    Media-savvy he never stayed out of the limelight for long, offering to mediate hostage crises in North Africa with his good friend Seif al-Islam, the son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, and forcibly removing bilingual street signs in Carinthia, which has a strong Slovenian minority.

     

    Haider became involved with the youth wing of the FPOe in his early 20s.

     

    After graduating with a law degree from Vienna University, he moved to southern Carinthia, where he soon became involved in local politics, quickly rising through the ranks of the FPOe until he took over the leadership of the party in 1986.

     

    His run as Carinthia's governor was interrupted in 1991, however, after he made comments praising the Third Reich's employment policies. But he was re-elected in 1999 and 2004.

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