Austria. In mid-March, the lawsuit began against Josef
Fritzl, who was revealed almost a year earlier to have held
his own daughter in prison for 24 years. According to
countryaah, the daughter had
given birth to seven children, six of whom survived and
three spent their entire lives trapped in the basement. Fritzl was prosecuted for rape, incest, slavery and murder.
During the trial, he pleaded guilty on all counts, and was
sentenced to life in a forensic psychiatric ward.
The right-wing populist party BZÖ made a record choice in
the state of Carinthia in March. The party received 45
percent of the vote. The result was partly interpreted as a
tribute to the party's founder and strong man Jörg Haider,
who died in a car accident a few months before the election.
But it was also seen as a sign of a crisis in the Social
Democratic SPÖ, which lost close to 10 percentage points in
voter support, largely to BZÖ. SPÖ also lost ground in the
election in Salzburg, which was held at the same time,
although the party there remained the largest, and in the EU
elections in June. In the state elections in Vorarlberg and
Upper Austria in September, support for the SPÖ was record
low. In both cases, the xenophobic FPÖ - which BZÖ was
formed - progressed strongly, even though the conservative
ÖVP remained the largest. The Social Democrats' large
electoral losses made it difficult for SPÖ leader Werner