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INTERVIEW Austria far-right candidate Hofer on Trump, Thatcher and helicopters

Austria
29.11.2016
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Austria's far-right presidential candidate talks to dpa about his admiration for Margaret Thatcher and offers his take on the US election outcome.

Vienna (dpa) - Austria will vote for a new president on Sunday after a year-long campaign beset by ballot irregularities and delays. If Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer wins, he would become the first right-wing populist head of state in Western Europe. Hofer answered 11 questions for dpa:

Nearly 12 months of campaigning are...?
... comparable to a marathon. One has to ration one‘s energy.

What do you like about your opponent, Green Party candidate Alexander Van der Bellen?

That he likes solar panels. This year I‘ve become the owner of a 5-kilowatt-peak unit.

Which of your own qualities do you value most?
I think I‘m a good trouble-shooter.

The Austrian government‘s defined limit for the number of asylum seekers is...?
... a placebo policy.

The European Union is ...?
... a project that is in urgent need of development.

What do you think about US president-elect Donald Trump?
I congratulated him on his election. He wants to improve relations with Russia and China. That‘s something that should be welcomed by Austria and Europe.

Who are your role models?
I am impressed by Maggie Thatcher‘s assertiveness and Rudolf Kirchschlaeger‘s balanced manner. [Margaret Thatcher, Britain‘s conservative prime minister from 1979-90; Rudolf Kirchschlaeger, independent Austrian president from 1974-86.]

What book has impressed you?
"Siddhartha" by Hermann Hesse.

When is lying justified?
It‘s better to stick to the truth. White lies are also lies.

What have you done for the first time recently?
I piloted a helicopter.

In six years you will be...?
At 51, I‘ll still be [Austria‘s] youngest president who is running for re-election.

 

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