Austria - Leadership

Upon accepting the position of chancellor, Schüssel, along with Haider, was forced by Klestil to sign a statement renouncing the nation's Nazi past and promising to adhere to European priorities and values. Despite some 2,000 citizens who opposed Haider protesting in the streets of Vienna, Schüssel planned to work with Haider by making him part of the mainstream work. Critics doubted Schüssel's ability to control Haider. In outlining his government program to Parliament, Schüssel rejected international concern over the inclusion of the FPÖ in his government. He stated his administration believed in tolerance and democratic values and emphasized commitment to the EU. To defuse the tensions brought about by his controversial views, Haider resigned as FPÖ leader in May 2000.

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