Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz strongly condemned hate speech on Thursday after the appointment of a minister with Bosnian origins unleashed online abuse.
Alma Zadic, the newly-appointed Justice Minister, is the first Austrian with an immigrant background to have entered government. She is one of four ministers from the Green Party, which recently joined a coalition with Kurz’s conservative People’s Party (OVP).
Hate speech “is an obnoxious phenomenon of our time. This kind of thing has no place here,” Kurz wrote on Twitter.
He also vowed to “act resolutely against online abuse — whether from the left, Islamist or right”, adding: “Alma Zadic and everyone else targeted by it have my total support!”
Zadic’s family fled the Bosnian war and arrived in Austria in 1994 when she was just 10.
Her election as an MP in 2017 already drew her some racist abuse which ramped up online when the Green party entered coalition talks with the OVP in late 2019 after a video scandal imploded the OVP’s previous power-sharing deal with the far-right Freedom Party of Austria.
Local media is reporting that she has been given round-the-clock protection.__EuroNews