Austrian People’s Party leader sees election win as mandate for change

World Today

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, head of Austrian People’s Party, speaks during an interview in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, after the closing of the polling stations for the Austrian national elections. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

He’s young, charismatic – and in all likelihood Austria’s next Chancellor.
Preliminary results give Sebastian Kurz’s People’s Party a comfortable lead in the parliamentary elections.

CGTN’s Guy Henderson explains the next steps for the governing party.

He’s likely to be Austria’s next Chancellor — and therefore the world’s youngest national leader.

The center-right Peoples Party is part of the establishment — in his short reign at the helm, 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz has shaken it up.

 Without an outright majority, though, Kurz will need help from a potentially controversial source.

In other parts of Europe, centrist parties have sought to isolate the far right. In Austria, the Freedom Party have long been mainstream. And now look likely to become the junior coalition partner.

The FPO looks likely to score its best ever result – nearly tied for second place with the center-left Social Democrats.

The party’s leader is prioritizing a classic populist mantra in any future government.

The incumbent Social Democrats had suggested they’d return to the opposition without a victory. With a stronger-than-expected showing themselves — Christian Kern isn’t saying that just yet.

After an unusually vicious campaign, though, few see the two parties that have dominated Austrian post-World War II politics pairing up easily again.

Through a year of elections in Europe – the far-right has made many gains. But it hadn’t yet formed part of any government.