LIBERAL FORUM BREAKAWAY 1993
After internal party differences, some FPÖ proponents around Heide Schmidt split from the Freedom Party in February 1993 and founded the Liberal Forum on 4 February 1993.
In 1988, Heide Schmidt was appointed General Secretary of the FPÖ under Jörg Haider. Furthermore, she became a member of the Federal Council for the Vienna Freedom Party, entered the National Council following the National Council elections of 1990, and was then elected as its Third President. In the late autumn of 1991, she was chosen as the Freedom Party’s candidate for the federal presidential election campaign.
The first massive clashes between Heide Schmidt and Jörg Haider took place in spring 1992, when Georg Mauthner-Markhof resigned from the Party Executive Committee and Haider took over from Norbert Gugerbauer as Chairman of the Parliamentary Party. The dispute finally culminated in events surrounding the Freedom Party’s referendum petition "Österreich zuerst" (Austria First), which called for limits to the influx of foreigners.
Both Heide Schmidt and her later comrades-in-arms still supported the petition for a referendum on foreigners, but a few days after the result became known, Heide Schmidt, Friedhelm Frischenschlager, Hans-Helmut Moser, Klara Motter and Thomas Barmüller announced their resignation from the National Council Group of the FPÖ Parliamentary Party and the formation of their own "classical-liberal" parliamentary group.
The President of the National Council, Heinz Fischer, confirmed the parliamentary party group status of the five MPs who had jumped ship, as well as funding for their group. The voter potential for the newly-founded Liberal Forum (LIF) was more likely to be found among "zeitgeist voters" and left-liberal or left-intellectual groups, such as the educated middle classes. At the National Council elections of 2008, the LIF was no longer able to clear the four-percent hurdle.