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Clerical shrine for late governor could cause a stir

Conservative lawmakers have waded into controversy by erecting a wayside shrine depicting a late governor’s portrait – surrounded by a halo.

The illustration – which was recently unveiled in Kobenz near Knittelfeld in Styria – is meant to show Saint Joseph. However, secular critics recognised a striking resemblance to Josef Krainer sen., who acted as the province’s governor from 1948 to 1971. The People’s Party (ÖVP) icon passed away in 1971.

Decision-makers have not denied their intention to honour Krainer with the shrine. Kobenz Town Hall official Helmut Zechner told the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper today (Tues): "(Krainer) comes from St. Lorenzen bei Scheifling but spent his youth (in Kobenz)."

The shrine was created by a local artist in the 1970s, according to the paper which reports that people backing the Austrian Social Democrats (SPÖ) called it a "disguised marketing campaign of the ÖVP" at that time.

The wayside shrine shows Krainer sen. posing above Saint Mary and Jesus. It is unclear whether political opponents of the ÖVP will get active against the decision to erect the clerical illustration. The 15-member local council features 11 ÖVP delegates, three SPÖ officials and one representative of the Freedom Party (FPÖ).

Krainer sen. is considered as one of the most influential conservative politicians of post-war Austria. His son Josef jun., 81, headed the Styrian government between 1981 and 1996. Franz Voves became the central province’s first Social Democratic governor. Voves, who was reelected last year, succeeded Waltraud Klasnic of the ÖVP in 2005.

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Tag cloud:
artist  Austrian  Kobenz  Krainer  Jesus  Mary  ndash  Josef  Social  wayside  Voves  illustration  governor  shrine  rsquo  Conservative  Democrats  Saint  Styria  Ouml

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