In Brief... World News Review: Austria and Switzerland Move Right

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In Brief... World News Review

Austria and Switzerland Move Right

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Today left-of-center governments dominate much of Western and Central Europe. However, there are signs of a movement towards the far right in certain European states.

Most alarming is the recent emergence of Jorg Haider's Freedom Party as the second largest political force in the Austrian legislature. He is known for his pro-Nazi pronouncements and qualified praise of Hitler. More recently, Haider has been in London trying to silence alarm bells in the West in reaction to his controversial statements about the Third Reich. The response in Israel was immediate. Jerusalem threatened to sever diplomatic relations with Austria if Jorg Haider is permitted to join the coalition government.

Three weeks after Austrian voters had boosted the ultra right, neighboring Switzerland seems set to follow suit. Polls show that Christopher Blocher's extreme Swiss People's Party is likely to finish second in upcoming elections, which would place him in a position to play a significant role in a future coalition government. He is known for his highly controversial views about the Holocaust.

Perhaps much less serious is the case of Emin Xhinovci, a fierce fighter with the recently disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). He recently opened a bar in Mitrovice, Northern Kosovo known as the Pizzeria Hitlericomplete with a prominent swastika, which French NATO troops promptly removed. Coupled with his pro-Nazi pronouncements, Xhinovci has attracted attention by deliberately enhancing his physical likeness to Adolph Hitler. Reporters say general reaction by international authorities has been weak and muted (The Guardian,Sunday Times,Sunday Telegraph,Independent on Sunday,Daily Mail,all London).