Published On: Mon, Sep 30th, 2019

Austria election results 2019: Who won the Austria election, what does it mean for Europe? | World | News

Sunday’s snap election was called after a scandal caused former chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s coalition government to collapse. Polling stations closed at 5pm (4pm BST) on September 29 and about 6.4 million people were eligible to vote. On Monday morning, the results were clear before counting had completed.

So who won the Austria election?

Sebastian Kurz, 33, looks certain to reclaim his position as the youngest leader in the world.

His conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) has more than 38 percent of the vote, up from 31 percent last time around.

Former coalition partners, the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), have been punished heavily by voters, receiving 17.3 percent, a plunge of more than a third as the party succumbed to the corruption scandal which brought down the government.

The ‘Ibiza scandal’ saw former FPÖ leader and vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache secretly filmed in Ibiza while offering lucrative public contracts in exchange for campaign support to a woman he believed to be the niece of a Russian oligarch.

The scandal forced Mr Strache to step down and led Mr Kurz to end the coalition with the Freedom Party, meaning the country has been led by a caretaker government since June.

But despite the fallout, Mr Kurz appears to have emerged largely unscathed from the scandal.

The Green Party was the other big winner of the snap election, achieving its best result at national elections with 14 percent, fuelling speculation Mr Kurz could invite it to form a government.

The centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) plummeted to a historically low 21.7 percent but was still the second-biggest party.

What does this mean for Europe?

The real implications for Europe won’t become clear until Mr Kurz decides who he will turn to form a governing coalition.

He could choose to renew his alliance with the FPÖ but may want to look at other options after the scandal.

A three-way pact with the Greens and the liberal pro-business Neos party is considered far more likely than a grand coalition with the Social Democrats.

However, coalition talks are widely expected to be difficult and may last for weeks.

Green leader Werner Kogler said on Sunday evening that the party would need to see “radical change” from the right-wing policies pursued by the previous coalition.

If this occurs, it would place Austria, a major force within the EU, on the left of the spectrum, adding to the shakeup in left vs right divisions within the bloc.

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