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Lover of Recently
Deceased Austrian BZÖ Chairman Joerg Haider Comes
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Lover of Recently
Deceased Austrian BZÖ Chairman Joerg Haider Comes
Forward

Joerg_haider

A young Austrian politician named Stefan Petzner recently revealed on Austrian radio that he had been involved in a romantic relationship with Joerg Haider, the chairman of the far-right Austrian party BZO, who recently died in a car accident. News of the love affair did not come as a major shock to Austria's population. In the past several months, a rival far-right party, the FPO, alluded on many occasions to Haider's homosexuality.

A young Austrian politician named Stefan Petzner recently revealed on Austrian radio that he had been involved in a romantic relationship with Joerg Haider, chairman of the far-right Austrian party BZO, who recently died in a car accident.

News of the love affair did not come as a major shock to Austria's population. In the past several months, a rival far-right party, the FPO, alluded on many occasions to Haider's homosexuality. Harald Vilimsky, the secretary-general of the FPO, was one of his biggest detractors and often made such allegations during press conferences. Haider was chairman of the FPO before breaking away in 2000; he created his own party in 2005. The rivalry between the two parties has been fierce.

Haider died in a car accident October 11 at the age of 58. He was driving alone on a highway in Carinthia, a province of which he had been governor for many years. On October 17 the Austrian daily Osterreich published pictures of him in a gay bar in Carinthia that were taken only a few hours before the accident.

According to the paper, Haider had been accompanied by a younger man with whom he allegedly shared a bottle of vodka (tests after the accident revealed that Haider had been under the influence of alcohol). Other Austrian papers later reported that Haider and Petzner had had a serious fight that night.

The gay French magazine Tetu recently reported that Haider's widow had filed a complaint against the prosecutor who told the media about Haider being in the gay bar, claiming that publication of this information could seriously harm their two daughters.

Petzner described to Austrian radio the "special relationship" he had shared with Haider, whom he described as his "life partner" and later as "the man of [his] life," the BBC reported Thursday. This differs markedly from the words Petzner used during a press conference right after Haider's death, when he called Haider his "best friend" before bursting into tears.

While Haider always tried to keep his homosexuality secret, his party favored recognition of same-sex couples in Austria, one of the few countries in Europe that does not provide gays and lesbians with any kind of legal partnership. In contrast to this political position, the FPO has taken a stand against marriage and adoption rights for gays. The parties have similar stands on many issues, however; they support the same strong anti-immigration and anti-European Union policies. Haider also was known for making anti-Semitic statements, which caused outrage throughout Europe. (Thibault Chareton, The Advocate)

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