New Covid-sceptic party wins Austrian parliament seat

A man gets a vaccine at the vaccination centre in Vienna on Aug 11, 2021.
A man gets a vaccine at the vaccination centre in Vienna on Aug 11, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

VIENNA (AFP) - An Austrian party set up in February to oppose coronavirus restrictions won six per cent of votes in regional elections on Sunday (Sept 26), giving it a seat in parliament, preliminary results show.

MFG - Menschen-Freiheit-Grundrechte, or People-Freedom-Fundamental Rights - campaigned mainly over social networks with a platform sceptical about vaccines and rejecting compulsory jabs.

Austria is gradually tightening the health pass introduced in the spring, and from October only fully vaccinated or those who have recovered will be able to enter stadiums and large venues in Vienna.

According to one poll, half of non-vaccinated voters backed the far-right FPO party, with a quarter voting MFG.

With just over 60 percent of the population fully vaccinated, Austria is falling behind much of the developed world.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, a conservative, blames this slowdown on the FPO's support for Covid-sceptic and conspiracy movements.