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Austrian chancellor makes last-ditch effort to end campaign scandals

Europe
12.10.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Vienna (dpa) - Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern made a final pre-election plea to parliament on Thursday to return to constructive dialogue after weeks of dirty campaign scandals that have sullied his image.

"Let us return to a responsible political debate that is characterized by integrity, honesty and respect for the dignity of others," the Social Democratic Party (SPOe) leader said.

Sunday‘s parliamentary election is a three-man race between Kern, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, and far-right leader Heinz-Christian Strache.

The election race in recent weeks was not dominated by policy issues, but by revelations that Kern‘s Israeli campaign advisor Tal Silberstein had covertly launched fake websites that were meant to smear Kurz and his centre-right People‘s Party.

The chancellor has claimed that he was not informed of these tactics and has accused the conservatives of playing a role in the leaks.

Kern and his entrepreneur wife have also been the target of smear campaigns by a conservative website and by unknown political operatives.

Taking the podium after Kern, far-right leader Strache ridiculed the chancellor‘s call for serious politics and questioned his innocence in the campaign scandal.

"That was almost like comedy. It was bizarre. It was the joke of the day," Strache said about Kern‘s speech.

 

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