The populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) has taken second place in Sunday’s Austrian national elections, pushing the left-wing Social Democrats into third and putting the Freedom Party on track to form a coalition government for the first time since 2005.
Both the People’s Party and the Freedom Party have focused on securing Austria’s borders, deporting failed asylum seekers, and Islamisation during the campaign, whilst the Social Democrats have focused on social justice issues.
The Associated Press reports the state of play Monday morning, with the near-final results. They state: At age 31, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz is poised to become the first millennial to lead a European country following his party’s victory in a national election Sunday.
While no party won a majority, the telegenic Kurz is most likely to be sworn in as Austria’s next chancellor – and Europe’s youngest leader – after the tough coalition government negotiations that lie ahead.
Near-final results from Sunday’s balloting put his People’s Party comfortably in first place, with 31.4 percent of the vote. The right-wing Freedom Party came in second with 27.4 percent. The center-left Social Democratic Party of Austria, which now governs in coalition with People’s Party, got 26.7 percent.
Becoming head of government would be the next leap in a political career that started eight years ago when Kurz, then studying law, was elected chairman of his party’s youth branch.
Smart and articulate, he eventually caught the eye of People’s Party elders. He was appointed state secretary for integration, overseeing government efforts to make immigrants into Austrians, in 2011.
After a Social Democratic-People’s Party coalition was formed four years ago, Kurz, then 27, became Austria’s foreign minister – the youngest top diplomat in Europe.
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