ANOTHER VIEW OF
AUSTRIA'S ELECTIONSI would like to comment on your Oct. 16 editorial, ''Austria's right turn'' (Page 6A), concerning the recent Austrian elections to the European Parliament.
You analyzed the result of Austria's elections as an expression of strong support for the far-right and as a protest vote against Austria's membership in the European Union. I would like to challenge this analysis by referring to a post-election study by Fessel-GfK, one of the most prominent polling organizations in Vienna.
The first Austrian elections to the European Parliament were a great surprise as to the large number of Austrians who participated. With 67 percent participation, Austria leads all European Union partners in voter turnout (except for those four countries where voting in elections is compulsory).
If you add up the vote that went to the parties that unequivocally support Austria's membership in the European Union - i.e., the Austrian People's Party (29.6 percent), the Social Democratic Party (29.2 percent) and the Liberal Forum (4.2 percent) - you get a pro-European vote of 63 percent.
This result just barely falls short of Austria's sensational result of 66.6 percent in favor of EU membership in its June 1994 referendum. Therefore, the Austrian vote can hardly be considered a protest against Austria's membership in the EU.
According to the poll, the Freedom Party of Mr. Jorg Haider was supported by 50 percent of the blue-collar vote in Austria. Contrary to your statement, Mr. Haider has become the advocate of workers in Austria and has entered into competition with the Social Democrats.
This result, and Mr. Haider's statement that he considers himself the legitimate heir to the legacy of the Austrian Social Democratic Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, hardly indicates a turn to the extreme right, as you concluded in your editorial.
Let me close by expressing my personal satisfaction that for the first time in 30 years the Austrian People's Party won national elections in Austria, a tendency that bodes well for the future of Austria's conservative Christian- Democrat party.
Dr. Hannes Farnleitner
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs
TRUCK SAFETY GROUPS
ARE NOT RACIST
I would like to clear up incorrect information in your recent article attacking advocacy groups for victims of truck crashes (''Rail-truck battle?'', Sept. 10, Page 2B).
The headline says there is a railroad-truck battle over foreign trucks operating on U.S. soil. Why would the railroads care whether the trucks are driven by Americans or by foreign nationals? Why is the issue only important to the railroads and not to the American people? Why is this issue put forward as one that is important only to racists?
Canadians are a majority white population; do you believe there is no opposition to unsafe Canadian trucks?
What about reports from Mexican journalists that drug cartels are in control of much of the Mexican economy. Do they control part of the Mexican truck industry in order to transport drugs to young people?
Are we racists if we investigate these issues and demand our government answer these questions before our borders are opened?
Organizations like Crash, which advocate for victims of truck accidents, are not funded by railroads. Crash has a large membership of truck drivers who are not now, and will never be, ''anti-truck.''
We as victims of truck crashes want all nations to demand safe trucking for their citizens. We will fight for truck safety inside Mexico and Canada as well as within our borders.
Stephen G. Hadley