Austria heading for snap elections

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The slender 30-year-old foreign minister, Sebastian Kurz, announced at a brief press conference on Sunday evening (14 May) that he had taken over the leadership of the Austrian People’s Party (OeVP), and was committed to snap elections in the autumn. After this, the prospect of a return to government for the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) moved a concrete step closer.

It is widely anticipated that early elections will be held after the summer and that the acrimonious break-up of the current coalition between the ruling Social Democrats (SPOe) and the OeVp removes the possibility of continued cooperation for the foreseeable future.

Since none of the three front-runner parties will win enough votes to rule alone, the FPOe, led by Heinz-Christian Strache, is well-placed to play a governing role for the first time since a stormy coalition with the OeVp – which prompted mass protests and EU sanctions – disintegrated in 2005.

Neither the leader of the SPOe, Christian Kern, nor Sebastian Kurz, have ruled out a coalition with the FPOe, as they put their focus on leading any future government.

Kurz is hoping that the seven, power-consolidating conditions – upon which he based his acceptance of the party leadership role, and that were approved by the OeVp grandees before they unanimously crowned him number one – will allow him the leeway to manoeuvre his party from third place in polls, to a win in the autumn…

Read more : EUObserver, 15.05.2017