Austrian group calls for Central European monarchy
Vienna | November 13, 2007 1:05:17 AM IST
An Austrian group calling for the reintroduction of hereditary monarchy in Central Europe said they were discriminated against in their attempts to re-establish an Austrian empire despite public support.
Sporting the traditional Habsburg colours, the Black-Yellow Alliance (SGA) on Monday presented its manifesto, complete with plans for forming a monarchist party and to replace the country's elected president with a monarch in the long run.
Austria by itself would, however, be too small to support an emperor, SGA said, therefore they were working towards a union of Central European states like Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria or the Czech Republic, united under a common crown and emperor.
A substantial part of Austria's population believed that monarchy was the only solution in politically difficult times such as now, SGA leader Manfred Koerner told a press conference. "Furthermore, a democratic monarchy was the best possible form of government," Koerner said.
Austrian monarchists, however, were discriminated against, and met with public scorn, the pro-Habsburg movement said. But the group refused to comment on its own membership numbers and only claimed that approximately 30 percent of the Austrian population was inclined towards some sort of a monarchy.
The self-styled pro-monarchy, pro-tolerance, pro-democracy movement announced plans to hold protest marches to rally more of those believed to be supportive of their cause.
After more than 800 years of Habsburg rule, Austria dissolved its monarchy in 1919 after World War I and introduced a parliamentary democracy. Members of the Habsburg family had to renounce all claims to the throne and spent the following decades in exile.
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