New Covid-sceptic party enters Austrian parliament

New Covid-sceptic party enters Austrian parliament
Covid scepticism has become a major movement in Austria. Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP
A party opposing Covid vaccinations has won an Austrian parliamentary seat, with six percent of the vote.

An Austrian party set up in February to oppose coronavirus restrictions won six percent of votes in regional elections on Sunday, giving it a seat in parliament, preliminary results show.

MFG — Menschen-Freiheit-Grundrechte, or People-Freedom-Fundamental Rights — campaigned mainly over social networks with a platform sceptical about vaccines and rejecting compulsory jabs.

Austria is gradually tightening the health pass introduced in the spring, and from October only fully vaccinated or those who have recovered will be able to enter stadiums and large venues in Vienna.

According to one poll, half of non-vaccinated voters backed the far-right FPO party, with a quarter voting MFG.

With just over 60 percent of the population fully vaccinated, Austria is falling behind much of the developed world.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, a conservative, blames this slowdown on the FPO’s support for Covid-sceptic and conspiracy movements.

The party was particularly popular in communities with a low vaccination rate, gaining 20 percent of votes in the Maria Neustift ward, where vaccination coverage in the community is just 44.7 percent, broadcaster ORF reports.

Here it came second to the ruling OVP party. In Auerbach in the Braunau district, where 34 percent are vaccinated, MFG achieved over 15 percent and landed in third place. 


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