Austria expected to elect youngest European Union leader in snap election

Austria expected to elect youngest European Union leader in snap election

Austria expected to elect youngest European Union leader in snap election

Projections from the Sora polling organisation had the People's Party led by foreign minister Sebastian Kurz receiving 30.5% of the vote and the eurosceptic Freedom Party 25.9%.

Former foreign minister and head of the conservative People's Party (ÖVP) 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz is expected to be chosen as Austria's next chancellor, becoming the youngest head of state in the European Union and the world.

Though absentee and mail ballots have yet to be counted, the projections suggest that the anti-immigration Freedom Party will return to government in Austria for the first time since 2005 and a decade of Social Democratic rule will end.

While the projections were based on incomplete results, they could herald a coalition between the People's and Freedom parties that would mean a rightward turn for Austria.

Kurz and his Austrian People's Party also took a harsher tone on issues related to migration and Islam during the campaign, sparking criticisms that the OVP was drifting into right-wing populism in the hope of attracting far-right voters.

But he avoids the inflammatory rhetoric of the right-wing Freedom Party and its head, Heinz-Christian Strache.

More than 6.4 million Austrians were eligible to vote. According to some of the polls, FPOe is expected to gain many votes in the election, becoming either the second or third largest party. With a handful of other parties struggling to just get into parliament, the most likely post-vote scenario is a People's Party-Freedom Party coalition that would shift the government significantly to the right.

Kurz said on Sunday night that he was open to talks with all parties that entered parliament on forming a coalition government.

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