All 30 members of the Freedom Party, which currently is the most popular party in Austria, walked out of the National Council Hall (lower house of Austria’s Parliament) on Mar. 30 in protest of a telescreened speech by Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky.
Freedom Party leader Herbert Kickl said that Parliament’s support for Ukraine was destroying Austria’s “heritage of neutrality,” reported The New York Times. The Austrian government supports Ukraine politically in the war but has not provided the nation with military aid.
Under law, Austria is not permitted to provide military aid to foreign countries.
In 1955 the Australian Parliament declared that the country would be permanently neutral. The state law says, “In all future times Austria will not join any military alliances and will not permit the establishment of any foreign military bases on her territory.”
When the 30 Freedom Party members walked out, they placed pink and blue signs at their seats that said, “A Place for Peace” and “A Place for Neutrality.”
Kickl further said, “It is sad that the FPO [Freedom Party] is the only party in Parliament that takes our everlasting neutrality seriously, thereby also standing up for peace.”
The Freedom Party is a conservative/populist political party.
According to a poll published March 11 in the Austrian magazine Profil, the Freedom Party “is now comfortably the strongest party in the Alpine republic, with 31% of the vote, followed by the Socialists (spö) at 25% and the centre-right Austrian People’s Party (övp) with 22%,” reported The Economist. “If Austrians could vote directly for their chancellor, the poll showed it would be a tie between Mr Kickl and the övp’s Karl Nehammer, the incumbent.”
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