Austria singer hit on top after far-right party spat

VIENNA: The 1970s hit “Skiing” has topped Austria's music downloads in the current heatwave after a spat between the singer, an Austro-pop legend, and the governing far-right party.

The Freedom Party (FPOe) has been ruling Austria in a coalition government with the centre-right People's Party since late last year after winning votes on an anti-immigration platform.

Wolfgang Ambros drew the FPOe's ire this week when he told a German daily that there were still “many brown dumps” in the party, hinting as its Nazi past, and saying he did not believe a word of what its leader Heinz-Christian Strache said.

FPOe secretary general Christian Hafenecker hit back, describing the 66-year-old as a “washed up musician”, while party supporters also criticised Ambros.

Founded by former Nazis in the 1950s, the FPOe in recent years has sought to clean up its image, with Strache, who is now vice chancellor, saying the party rejects all extremism.

The result of the spat?

One of Ambros' fans launched a Twitter campaign, which has seen his 1976 “Schifoan” — Austrian for “skiing” — become the No. 1 downloaded song on the country's iTunes, local media reported Friday, while #schifoan-challenge2018 is trending on Twitter.

“Schifoan” is still a popular apres-ski hit.

Ambros has frequently spoken out against the FPOe.

Austria recorded its hottest day of the year Thursday with 37.3°C, just a few degrees shy of the 2013 record of 40.5°C. — AFP

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