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Austria’s new president, and Green party member, has come under fire on Monday after it emerged that a branch of the party once issued anti-Austria posters.
A tag line on posters put out by the party’s youth branch in 2007 read ‘Anyone who loves Austria must be s***’
Alexander Van der Bellen stood as an independent candidate but it a long-time member of The Greens.
Put up by the youth branch of Austria’s The Greens (GAJ) in Vienna, the posters were supposedly a satirical assault on nationalism, and dog fouling.
They bore an image of a dog with the country’s red and white flag in its mouth, instead of a rubbish bag.
This was thought to be a reference to clearing up dog excrement with an Austrian flag.
The poster was meant to be a double take against both the city’s fouling problem, and nationalism in Austria.
At the time, the party were keen to state that the main body of the organisation and their youth wing were separate organisations, according to Der Standard.
Van der Bellen has been known to oppose the concept of a nation state and is an advocate of Eu federalism, Breitbart reported on Monday.
Austria’s current geographical position in the migrant crisis means that having a president in favour of open borders affects the flow of people coming up from Italy.
Van der Bellen’s decade-long career as leader of the Greens Party until 2008 has turned him into an agile and at times aggressive opponent in debates.
‘I don’t want that Austria becomes the first country in western Europe led by a populist right-wing, pan-Germanic fraternity member,’ he told voters.
He also vowed to not swear in Heinz-Christian Strache as chancellor if the FPOe, currently ahead in polls, wins the next general election scheduled for 2018.
The remark prompted former opponent Norbert Hofer to call him a ‘fascist green dictator’.
Adversaries have also accused Van der Bellen of being a ‘turncoat’ because he was a member of the Social Democrats before joining the Greens in the early 1990s and eventually becoming their president.
Under his leadership, the party went on to achieve record results, but he quit after the 2008 election when the Greens lost votes for the first time in almost 10 years.
As Austrian president, he dreams of a fence-free ‘United States of Europe’, which defends the rights of minority groups.
An outspoken supporter of gay marriage, the divorced and recently remarried father-of-two garnered signatures from more than 4,000 public figures in the course of his presidential campaign.
This prompted a seemingly unimpressed Hofer to attack his rival for being too highbrow: ‘You have the glitterati, but I have the people,’ he snapped.
In his private life, Van der Bellen admits to two weaknesses: Donald Duck comics and cigarettes.
‘I once quit for four months… but why should I torture myself at my age!’, he said.