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Austria’s Ruling Party Names Minister Darabos to Manage Campaign

Austria’s Social Democrats, the party led by Chancellor Werner Faymann, named Defense Minister Norbert Darabos as manager for its campaign in national elections due at the end of September.

Darabos will step down as defense minister, a position he held since the center-left party returned to the government in 2007, Faymann told journalists in a briefing in Vienna broadcast over the Internet. Darabos’s successor as minister, Gerald Klug, now a lawmaker in Austria’s Upper House, will be sworn in Monday, Faymann said.

While Darabos in January lost a referendum in which he fought for terminating the military draft in the Alpine country, he is also credited with managing the 2006 campaign that brought his group back to power as the senior partner in the coalition. Faymann and his conservative coalition partner plan to hold the elections Sept. 29, they said last week.

Under Faymann’s leadership, the Social Democrats have seen their share of the vote dwindling in opinion polls. They would win 27 percent of the vote now, according to a survey published by Profil magazine last week, less than the all-time low of 29 percent in the 2008 elections. They would remain the biggest party, ahead of the conservatives, according to Profil.

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