In Brief

Conservative Sebastian Kurz declares victory in Austria

Election win makes Kurz the world’s youngest head of government

The conservative Austrian People’s party (OVP) has declared victory in Austria’s national elections, making its 31-year-old leader Sebastian Kurz the world’s youngest head of government at the end of October.

Projections last night put the OVP ahead with 31.7% of the vote. “The incumbent chancellor Christian Kern’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPO) were relegated to second place with 27% of the vote, while the far-right FPÖ took 25.9%, failing to match its best-ever result,” The Guardian says.

“I am truly overwhelmed,” Kurz told cheering supporters at an election party after polls closed. “We made the impossible possible. Thank you very much for your commitment and this historic success.”

Kurz will now face the task of forming a new government, with a potential coalition with the far-right Freedom Party, following a campaign fought over tax cuts and harsher measures against “political Islam”.

However, Kurz has repeatedly refused to be drawn on which party he would form a coalition with, saying he intended to talk to all parties before making a decision, and not ruling out forming a minority government.

“The rightward shift was seen as a response to the success of the Freedom Party, which narrowly missed out on the presidency in December when Norbert Hofer was defeated by Alexander Van der Bellen, head of the Greens,” the BBC says.

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