Austrian far-right leader Haider dies in road accident

Outspoken Austrian far-right leader Joerg Haider, who sparked international outrage with comments praising Nazi policies, died on Saturday when his car veered off the road. Haider, 58, suffered serious head and chest injuries when his car flipped over several times and died en route to hospital, police said. Tributes were paid by Austrian politicians of all sides despite his notoriety. Haider grabbed international attention after his anti-immigration, anti-EU party won more than a quarter of the vote in a 1999 general election and became part of the government. The governor of Carinthia province and leader of the Alliance for Austria’s Future (BZOe) party was driving his official car on a road south of the provincial capital, Klagenfurt, when the accident happened. He had just overtaken another vehicle when his car came off the road for unknown reasons, according to police quoted by the APA news agency. Haider was to have attended a family celebration Saturday for his mother’s 90th birthday. “For us this is the end of the world,” BZOe deputy leader Stefan Petzner said. Austria’s President Heinz Fischer called Haider a “politician of great talent” who had “aroused enthusiasm but also strong criticism”.