Magnate Stronach lays out anti-political agenda for Austria

Tue Apr 9, 2013 10:42am EDT
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* Stronach exploits disenchantment with mainstream parties

* Promises parliamentary seats for ordinary citizens

* Party polling at 10 pct ahead of national elections

By Georgina Prodhan

VIENNA, April 9 (Reuters) - Austro-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach on Tuesday promised to save Austria from career politicians if elected later this year, holding out the prospect of seats in parliament for ordinary citizens and more autonomy from the European Union.

Stronach said the chance to give the Alpine republic, the country of his birth, a new start convinced him to run for election instead of spending his retirement in leisure.

"This government is driving Austria into the ground," the 80-year-old told a news conference called to announce his party's platform for elections due to be held by late September.

"This is the first time in 50 years that people have the chance to vote for someone else," said Stronach, the founder of global car-parts firm Magna International.

Stronach is funding his presidential-style campaign from his own wealth, seeking to tap into many Austrians' disenchantment with the political mainstream long dominated by two big parties.   Continued...