Amidst Party Infighting, Austria’s Chancellor Expects Early Election

Austria's new Chancellor Christian Kern after being sworn-in at the Hofburg in Vienna, on May 17, 2016

BERLIN (AP) – Austria’s chancellor says he expects an early election this fall as his coalition partner mulls its future leadership.

Austria is governed by an often bad-tempered alliance of Chancellor Christian Kern’s center-left Social Democrats and the center-right Austrian People’s Party. The latter’s leader, outgoing Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner, announced his resignation last week amid persistent party infighting.

People’s Party officials are to meet Sunday to consider their next move. The likeliest new leader, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, says Austria should hold an early election rather than keeping Kern’s coalition going until the vote is scheduled in late 2018.

FILE - In this May 5, 2017 file photo Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern attends a joint news conference after a meeting with Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic at the federal chancellery in Vienna. Austria's chancellor Christian Kern says Sunday May 14, 2017 he expects an early election this fall as his coalition partner mulls its future leadership. Austria is governed by an often bad-tempered alliance of Chancellor Christian Kern's center-left Social Democrats and the center-right Austrian People's Party. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak,file)

FILE – In this May 5, 2017 file photo Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern attends a joint news conference after a meeting with Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic at the federal chancellery in Vienna. Austria’s chancellor Christian Kern says Sunday May 14, 2017 he expects an early election this fall as his coalition partner mulls its future leadership. Austria is governed by an often bad-tempered alliance of Chancellor Christian Kern’s center-left Social Democrats and the center-right Austrian People’s Party. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak,file)

Kern has said he wants to keep the coalition in place until then. But he told ORF television Sunday: “I assume that there will certainly be an election this fall.”
FILE - In this March 17, 2017 file photo, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz of the Austrian People's Party poses for a photo during an interview with The Associated Press in Vienna. Austria's chancellor Christian Kern says Sunday, May 14, 2017 he expects an early election this fall as his coalition partner mulls its future leadership. Austria is governed by an often bad-tempered alliance of Chancellor Christian Kern's center-left Social Democrats and the center-right Austrian People's Party. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak,file)

FILE – In this March 17, 2017 file photo, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz of the Austrian People’s Party poses for a photo during an interview with The Associated Press in Vienna. Austria’s chancellor Christian Kern says Sunday, May 14, 2017 he expects an early election this fall as his coalition partner mulls its future leadership. Austria is governed by an often bad-tempered alliance of Chancellor Christian Kern’s center-left Social Democrats and the center-right Austrian People’s Party. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak,file)

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