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Austria Set To Make History By Electing 31-Year Old Sebastian Kurz As Next President

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Austria is a German speaking country with a population of about 8.7Million people, with the dominant religion being Christianity.

Before the election, Mr Sebastian Kurz served as Europe’s youngest-ever foreign minister, after he was appointed in 2013 aged just 27.

In May 2017 he became the leader of the People’s Party. He began his political career in the youth wing of the party, which he chaired before moving on to serve on Vienna’s city council.

Nicknamed “Wunderwuzzi” (roughly translated – someone who can walk on water), he has been compared to the young leaders of France and Canada, Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau.

Much like Mr Macron, Mr Kurz has created a movement around himself, rebranding the People’s Party – which has been in power for more than 30 years – as “The New People’s Party”.

Immigration was the dominant issue in the run-up to the vote, and Mr Kurz moved his party to the right in the wake of Europe’s 2015 refugee crisis.

He appealed to conservative and right-wing voters with pledges to shut down migrant routes to Europe, cap benefit payments to refugees, and bar immigrants from receiving benefits until they have lived in Austria for five years.

 

Mr Kurz is on course to win the lion’s share of the vote but not a majority. If the forecasts are correct, he will need to form a coalition, most likely with the Freedom Party.

The last coalition between the Social Democrats and the conservatives fell apart this spring – and there may be reluctance to renew it. But an alliance with the populist, far-right Freedom Party could prove controversial among Austria’s EU counterparts.

Mr Kurz refused to discuss his plans, saying only that he would talk to other parties. He says he wants to wait for final results.

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