The Federation of Independents
(Verband der Unabhängigen
, VdU) was a national-liberal political party in Austria
active from 1949 to 1955. It was the predecessor of the Freedom Party of Austria
The party was officially founded on 25 March 1949 by Herbert Kraus
and Viktor Reimann
.Its formation had been encouraged by the Austrian Social Democrats
, because they sought to split the right-wing
vote and to weaken the conservative People's Party
to gain a parliamentary majority in Austria. On the next day the constituent assembly was held at Salzburg
, then in the US occupation zone
. Herbert Kraus was elected Chairman (Bundesobmann
), while Viktor Reimann, Josef Karoly, Karl Hartleb and Karl Winkler were appointed Vice-Chairmen (Bundesobmann-Stellvertreter
). Kraus was party leader until 1952.
VdU saw itself as representing the interests of former Nazi Party
members, expellees from Central and Eastern Europe
, returning war prisoners
and other discontent portions of the Austrian population. Although close to the Austrian People's Party
, the party also advocated liberal individualism
, and did not concern itself much with the "Catholic question." VdU supported the abolition of laws limiting the political activities of former Nazis.
Electoral success and decline
In the 1949......