Billionaire Frank Stronach's bid to enter Austrian
politics got a boost Thursday when the automotive entrepreneur
fulfilled the necessary conditions to compete in next year's
The Austrian-Canadian founder of car parts supplier Magna has stirred up Austrian politics with announcements that he would set up a new party opposed to efforts to save the euro.
On Thursday, Stronach received support from parliamentarian Robert Lugar, Austrian press agency APA reported. Two other legislators had already publicly backed him earlier in the week. Under Austrian law, backing by three parliamentarians allows a new party to stand for elections.
The 79-year-old self-made billionaire has made it clear he will lead his party, which remains unnamed.
Recent polls show Stronach could win up to 9 per cent of the ballots. But he said last week that he has higher ambitions.
"I hope we will field the next chancellor," he said.
The strongest reactions to the new political competitor have come from the centre-right People's Party (OeVP), which is in a coalition government with Chancellor Werner Faymann's Social Democrats, and from which one of Stronach's three supporters defected.
The other two came from the populist right-wing Alliance for the Future of Austria.
The OeVP on Wednesday accused Stronach of buying the support of his parliamentary backers.
Stronach emigrated to Canada in the 1950s, working as a mechanic at first. He founded Magna in 1967 and turned it into a global company over the next decades.
Magna was in the media spotlight in 2009, when it unsuccessfully bid to take over German carmaker Opel.
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