‘Burqa Ban’ Marks a Hard-Line Shift in Austria’s Politics on the Eve of Elections

A person passes posters of the right-wing Freedom party, FPOE, and the conservative Austrian People's Party, OEVP, Vienna, Austria, Oct.11, 2017 (AP photo by Ronald Zak).
A person passes posters of the right-wing Freedom party, FPOE, and the conservative Austrian People's Party, OEVP, Vienna, Austria, Oct.11, 2017 (AP photo by Ronald Zak).
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On Oct. 15, Austrians will go to the polls to elect a new government, with all signs pointing to a rightward shift in its ruling coalition. Just two weeks before the parliamentary elections, the government put into force a new law that prohibits individuals from covering their faces in public—a not-so-subtle signal to right-wing voters of the government’s stance on Muslims and the full-body burqa and other coverings worn by some Muslim women. In an email interview, Stefan Lehne, a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe and former director general of political affairs at the Austrian Ministry for European and International […]

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