Thursday 26 April 2018

Austria faces snap election with far-right party leading

Austria's Foreign Minister and designated new leader of the People's Party (OeVP) Sebastian Kurz. Photo: Reuters
Austria's Foreign Minister and designated new leader of the People's Party (OeVP) Sebastian Kurz. Photo: Reuters

Jonathan Gray

Austrian Foreign Minister and new conservative leader Sebastian Kurz will meet Chancellor Christian Kern today and suggest they jointly propose a snap parliamentary election be held, Mr Kurz said yesterday.

"I will meet Chancellor Christian Kern and President [Alexander] Van der Bellen tomorrow and make a suggestion," he told a news conference. "From my point of view the first step must be that we reach a joint decision in favour of snap elections," he said, adding that he wanted the election to be held after the summer.

An election will give the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) a good chance of entering national government less than a year after its candidate lost a presidential run-off, as it currently leads in the polls.

But surveys suggest the conservative People's Party (OVP) would leap from third to first place, and support for the FPO and Kern's Social Democrats would fall, if Mr Kurz took over as OVP leader.

Irish Independent

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