Austrian party suspends member over Nazi salute claim

Official in Styria region accused of having said ‘Heil Hitler’ in council meeting.

A member of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) was kicked out over allegations that he gave a Nazi salute, less than a week before the country goes to the polls, local media reported.

An independent local councillor in the southern state of Styria, who is a member of the FPÖ, was alleged to have raised his right arm and said “Heil Hitler” during a local council meeting, Der Standard reported Tuesday. The man was not identified and neither was the town.

Josef Riemer, an FPÖ chairman from the region, said in a statement that the party was taking the accusations very seriously. Riemer added that the party had suspended the official’s membership until the case was resolved, Der Standard reported.

The official rejected the allegations and hired a lawyer, Reuters reported.

In Austria, the birthplace of Adolf Hitler, it is forbidden to make statements that glorify the Nazis.

The FPÖ, led by Heinz-Christian Strache, is expected to do well in the October 15 national election, and for the first time since 2000 it has a good chance of joining the government.

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