VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- Throwing Austrian politics into fresh turmoil, far-rightist Joerg Haider announced Tuesday he would stay on as a provincial governor and Freedom Party member, hours after vowing to resign when the party was thrashed in weekend elections.
The flamboyant Haider, whose praise of Hitler and anti-foreigner rhetoric helped fuel the meteoric rise of his party into the government two years ago, said political colleagues persuaded him overnight not to quit the movement or his job as governor of the southwestern province of Carinthia.
"I accept personally much of the responsibility for the bad results," the Austria Press Agency quoted Haider as saying. "A resignation would have been the logical consequence. But my party friends did not accept this because they believe my 'Carinthian way' is good and I should continue."
Critics ridiculed Haider for backing off on his latest threat to leave politics, saying it showed he cannot be taken seriously. The reversal also was likely to further alienate swing voters who abandoned his party in Sunday's general elections.
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