Appearing to make light of the Holocaust would be the kiss of death for most European politicians, but for Austria's Heinz-Christian Strache it has meant little more than a temporary dip in his popularity.

The 42-year-old leader of the Freedom Party has bounced back in opinion polls after a barrage of criticism in January for reportedly likening attacks on him and his backers to treatment of the Jews in Nazi Germany.

Speaking to Reuters from his office overlooking parliament, the dark-tanned former dental technician denounced the whole affair as a political plot against him and said he was confident heading into an election next year, when nearly one in three voters could reward his party for its opposition to euro zone bailouts and a tough stance on immigration.

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