Austria’s far-right to play pivotal role in new government with young leader at the helm

The country is likely to have a right-wing coalition in power

Austria’s far-right will be central to the country’s government after a strong performance in Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

The country’s main conservative party, led by current foreign minister Sebastian Kurz, topped the poll with 31.4 per cent of the vote, but is expected to seek a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPO).

Early projections show the conservative OVP up nearly eight per cent and the far-right FPO up around five per cent.

Near-final results put the right-wing Freedom Party in second place with 27.4 per cent, while the centre-left Social Democrats (SPO), which has also not ruled out an alliance with the far-right, got 26.7 per cent.

The last time the FPO entered government in the year 2000, other EU states briefly imposed diplomatic sanctions on Austria with the aim of forcing the extremists from government.

Sebastian Kurz, who is just 31 years old, declared victory on Sunday night and is likely to be the new Chancellor – the youngest national leader in the developed world.

Final results are not expected until later in the week, though provisional results have been rolling in since polls closed on Sunday evening.

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