Austrian People's Party wins majority national election, Sebastian Kurz to become world's youngest national leader at 31

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Monday, October 16, 2017

The exit polls of yesterday's snap parliamentary elections in Austria showed the centre-right Austrian People's Party ((de)) German language: Österreichische Volkspartei (ÖVP) led the election, receiving about 31% of the votes. The far-right Freedom Party of Austria ((de)) German language: Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (FPÖ), which received about 26% seats, is reported a likely choice to form a coalition with ÖVP, having finished narrowly third in the election. 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, leader of ÖVP, form a minority government, becoming the chancellor of the country and thereby the world's youngest national leader.

Party majorities in the Austrian legislative election, 2017 according to communities.
Image: Furfur.

The parliamentary elections, which were scheduled to be held next year, were preponed after the current coalition with the centre-left Social Democratic Party of Austria ((de)) German language: Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs (SPÖ) was broken in May. FPÖ and ÖVP were in favour of snap election, which requires a majority in the parliament.

Kurz currently serves as the foreign minister of Austria. Kurz was the youngest European foreign minister when he filled the place in 2013 at the age of 27. Addressing the public after the election, Kurz said, "Today is not the day of triumph over the others, but today is out chance for real change in this country." Kurz and his party have supported stricter immigrant laws after 2015's immigrant crises. The far-right FPÖ last participated in forming a governing majority in the parliament in 2000.

After the result, current chancellor and Social Democrats' leader Christian Kern said, "We have seen a massive shift to the right in the country. During the last 24 months here, possibly more — there has been a constant and brutal right-wing political agenda carried out by political parties but honestly we cannot exclude the media from this either." ((de)) German language: Wir haben gesehen, dass wir hier es mit massiven Rechtsrutsch im Land zu tun hatten, dass hier 24 Monate – vielleicht noch länger — eine permanente brutale rechte politische Themenlage vorbereitet worden ist – von politischen Parteien, aber ganz ehrlich, da kann man die Medien auch nicht ausnehmen.

According to reports, the total vote count is expected by mid-week. There were at least 800,000 absentee votes in the election. As of today, about 90% of the votes were counted, the Evening Standard reported.

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