In Brief

Sebastian Kurz’s People’s Party wins Austrian election

Former chancellor will need a coalition to reclaim youngest leader tag

Austria’s conservative People’s Party were the winners in Sunday’s snap general election.

With nearly all the votes counted, the party, led by former chancellor Sebastian Kurz, had more than 38% of the vote, up from 31% last time round.

The Guardian points out that this means Kurz, 33, “looks certain to reclaim his position as the youngest leader in the world”.

Speaking at party headquarters, Kurz said he was “overwhelmed and almost speechless,” adding: “I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of our voters.”

The far-right Freedom Party, Kurz’s former coalition partners had a disappointing night with a big drop in their vote.

The poll was called after a scandal caused the previous coalition government to collapse. Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, then leader of the Freedom Party, was secretly filmed promising government contracts to a woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch.

The People’s Party won in eight of Austria’s nine federal states, losing only Vienna to the Social Democrats. 

However, as the BBC points out, despite its “strong showing,” the People’s Party will not have a majority in parliament and Kurz will need to secure coalition partners.

Although another pact with the Freedom Party is plausible, analysts say a three-way pact with the Greens and the Neos party is on the cards.

Certainly the Freedom Party leader, Norbert Hofer, believes he has little chance of taking part in a new coalition. He said that the result means “we are preparing for opposition”.

Since June, Austria has been led by a caretaker government headed by the constitutional lawyer Brigitte Bierlein.

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