Preparation has been made in Austria for the far-right Freedom Party to be sworn in as part of the country’s new coalition government.
The new government to be inaugurated later on Monday is a coalition between Freedom Party and the conservative People’s Party.
The young chairman of People’s Party, Sebastian Kurz, will be Austrian chancellor and the world’s youngest leader in the only Western European state with a governing far-right party.
At Kurz’ side will be Freedom Party chairman Heinz-Christian Strache, 48, a notorious Islamophobic.
Strache denounced Islam earlier this year, claiming the divine Abrahamic religion “has no place in Europe.”
Last year, he described German Chancellor Angela Merkel as “the most dangerous woman in Europe” for her open-door refugee policy.
On Sunday, Strache announced to his 750,000 followers on Facebook that the new government will slash benefits for asylum seekers.
“It will no longer happen for migrants who have never worked here a single day or paid anything into the social system to get thousands of euros in welfare!” he said, gaining 4,000 ‘likes.’
The interior minister will be Herbert Kickl, a former speechwriter for Strache’s predecessor Joerg Haider, whose 2000 entry into government prompted an outcry and soul-searching in Europe that appears largely absent this time.
Several different demonstrations have been called for Monday in Vienna, although it was unclear how many people would show. Police have cordoned off the area around the presidency.
The Freedom Party also secured the defense and foreign ministries, while the People’s Party got finance, economy, justice, amongst other portfolios, and will continue to handle EU affairs.
Elsewhere, Marine Le Pen of France’s National Front and Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party in the Netherlands described the rare rise to power of a far-right party in Western Europe as a positive development.
Nationalist movements in Europe are opposed to immigration and membership in the European Union.
Wilders said Freedom Party of Austria’s entry into government was “an excellent result.” Le Pen also called it “very good news for Europe.”
In addition, Austria’s government plans to seek support to end “definitively” Turkey’s bid to join the EU.