Party of late rightist leader Haider faces test in Austrian poll
The party of late Austrian far-right leader Joerg Haider faced a key test Sunday as voters in his stronghold province of Carinthia cast their ballots for the regional parliament for the first time since his death.
Haider died last October aged 58 in a drunken driving accident. His Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZOe) has since been banking on his legacy in a bid to secure the party's future, which was geared towards its charismatic leader.
For Sunday's regional ballot, the Alliance chose to call itself "BZOe - Joerg Haider party ticket."
In the 2004 regional elections in Carinthia, the Alliance won 42.4 per cent of votes, securing Haider's position as governor of Austria's southernmost province.
In the national elections for parliament last September, Haider's appeal and anti-immigration and anti-Muslim policies won the Alliance 10 per cent of the votes, boosted by results from Carinthia, where nearly 40 per cent chose the party.
According to the latest polls ahead of the Carinthia elections, the Social Democratic Party has almost caught up with the Alliance, with both parties hovering near 38 per cen, reported dpa.