In a revealing demonstration of how much illegal immigration has changed European politics, Norbert Hofer, the Freedom Party candidate who represents voters against allowing more so-called “asylum seekers into Europe came out on top in the first round of voting in Austria's presidential elections.
Hofer is expected to face Alexander Van der Bellen, an independent contender backed by the Greens, in the May 22 runoff election. The election verdict clearly shown in the graphic map above shows a wide-spread and popular dissatisfaction with the country's political establishment. The rise of populist parties has been stoked by increasing economic woes and the government's response to the refugee crisis that has polarized public opinion throughout the continent. The failure of Muslim immigrants to assimilate into Western society and the rise of deadly terrorist acts throughout Europe has given birth to this movement aimed at preserving European culture, prosperity and security.
Until now, Austria has been ruled by a coalition of two parties — the center-left Social Democrats and the center-right People's Party. But this recent was a clear referendum on their continued rule. Mirroring what is happening in other European nations and in America’s Presidential campaign the long-ruling political establishment is losing support from the people. In Austria, for example, the coalition parties only received 20 percent of the vote, compared with 80 percent six years ago.
"This is the beginning of a new political era," said Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Freedom Party.
In a tweet by Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right National Front, which is also poised for similar electoral gains in France. Le Pen went on to extol the rise of "patriotic" movements throughout Europe.
Translated the tweet essentially congratulates the choice by Austrian voters to and calls their choice of Hofer “magnificent.”
Hofer’s worldview is increasingly in line with the people of Europe who, by their vote, are sending the message that they agree with the charismatic leader’s ideas. He wants Austria to leave the European Union, just as Great Britain is considering a “Brexit.” He also supports banning headscarves worn by Muslim women and stopping all foreigners from receiving benefits through Austria's social welfare system.
Austria’s vote is seen by many as another “canary in the coalmine,” meaning it is expected that voters will continue to vote against establishment candidates they see as selling out to liberal ideology by favoring open immigration and borders.