NEWS

Frank Stronach launches campaign to lead Austria

09/27/2012 01:35 EDT | Updated 11/27/2012 05:12 EST
Frank Stronach today launched a political movement to lead the country of his birth, unveiling the campaign to run a slate of candidates in Austria's general elections in 2013.

The billionaire founder of Magna announced the formation of his Team Stronach political party at a press conference in Vienna on Thursday. The party favours a decentralized European Union and simplified governmental structures in Austria.

The 80-year-old Stronach wants a re-evaluation of the common European currency for each country, with the value of the euro in Germany as the benchmark. He also seeks to balance the Austrian budget.

Stronach was born in Kleinsemmering in 1932 before leaving for Canada when he was 22. He went on to found auto parts company Magna in Aurora, Ont., and become one of Canada's richest people.

The campaign kick off to lead the country of eight million people was short on details, but Team Stronach will run on a platform of reducing the country's debt, and lowering taxes.

Calls himself 'man of the people'

Stronach announced the formal founding of his party Friday, saying it's a day "that will go down in the history of Austria and also in the history of the world."

He described himself as "a man of the people."

Polls show his party backed by up to 10 per cent of the electorate.

Stronach's daughter, Belinda, ran the family company before taking up politics. She was an instrumental figure in uniting right wing parties into the current Conservative Party before crossing the floor and becoming a cabinet minister in then Prime Minister Paul Martin's government.

Frank Stronach himself ran to become an MP in 1988 but lost.

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