Austrian Premier Faymann steps down, citing dwindling support

Austrian Social Democratic Chancellor Werner Faymann announced his resignation Monday after months of growing support for the far-right Freedom Party and a recent election setback that resulted in mounting criticism from within his party.

After a meeting with party leaders, Faymann said he would step down as head of the government and as leader of his party, citing a lack of support for his political course among Social Democrats.

"This government needs a powerful new start," he told reporters.

A growing sign of that lack of support came last month, when the Social Democrat's presidential candidate faltered against the far-right contender, Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party, who won the first round of presidential elections.

This result, as well as strong polling results for the Freedom Party during the past 12 months, have led to a deep divide within the Social Democratic Party, between those who lean towards anti-immigration policies and those who want the party to return to traditional leftwing politics.

However, Faymann had backed various new tough immigration policies over the past months, without any shift in his low popularity ratings.

Last update: Mon, 09/05/2016 - 13:53

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