VIENNA: Austro-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach will withdraw from active Austrian politics and will be replaced in parliament by a former Miss World, the 81-year-old tycoon said in a newspaper interview published Thursday.
"I will take up the seat in parliament but I don't know for how long and how often," Stronach, who returned in 2012 to his native Austria after decades in Canada to run in elections last month, told Oesterreich.
"It is only a question of time until I give up my mandate for Ulla Weigerstorfer," the winner of the 1987 Miss World beauty pageant and now a successful businesswoman, he said.
"I value her character and she has good knowledge. Also women are represented far too little in parliament."
Stronach, who made his fortune in Canada with auto parts giant Magna and with horse-racing after leaving Austria in the 1950s, created his own party in 2012, Team Stronach, posing as a prodigal son back to save Austria.
But after a gaffe-filled campaign that saw him call for the death penalty for contract killers and suggest China might invade, the party scored just 5.7 percent, well below Stronach's goal of 15 percent.
The two centrist parties that have dominated politics since 1945, the Social Democrats and the People's Party, are currently in talks about a renewal of their "grand coalition" -- without Team Stronach.
Earlier this week Stronach, who is reportedly trying to get back from his party a loan of 10 million euros ($13.8 million), told newspapers he would give up his seat in parliament in less than a year.