Published On: Fri, Sep 27th, 2019

Austria election: Right wing Sebastian Kurz set for shock comeback – new poll | World | News


Mr Kurz, who leads the mainstream Austrian People’s Party (OVP) is expected to top the polls when Austrian’s 6.4 million people head to the polls on Sunday. But his victory may come as a shock to many, as just four months ago he was removed from office by a bruising no-confidence vote in Parliament. The 33-year-old, who became the EU’s youngest national leader two years ago, was ousted after his coalition party leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, was filmed suggesting he could offer lucrative public contracts in exchange for campaign support.

The scandal was dubbed the Ibiza Affair and called Mr Kurz’s leadership into question.

Mr Kurz joined forces with Mr Strache’s Freedom Party (FPO) after coming to power, marking a sharp shift to the right.

But the coalition crumbled just 18-months in, after the scandal, leading to Mr Strache’s resignation which prompted the catastrophic no-confidence vote.

Four month’s later, polls show a big lead for the OVP and if Mr Kurz does top the vote, he will have to decide which rivals to bring in to a coalition.

Mr Kurz is unlikely to secure a parliamentary majority, owing to Austria’s proportional voting system.

He has conducted a careful campaign, having emerged relatively untarnished from the Ibiza Affair.

His first campaign, in 2017, focused heavily on restricting immigration, but this time round he has kept his intentions vague.

The campaign trail has centred firmly on him, rather than his policies.

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Thomas Hofer, a leading political analyst predicts there will be a big gap between first and second place.

He said: “If the polls are even halfway correct then there will be a big gap between first and second place, maybe even the biggest gap in the history of the republic.”

He added that in this campaign: “If there’s an issue, then it’s not really a factual matter but the question who should govern with whom.”

Mr Kerz’s party currently polls at about 35 percent, with the Freedom Party and Social Democrats trailing at between 20 and 23 percent.

The Greens are predicted to return to Parliament, having lost their seats in the last election, with 11-13 percent of the vote.

It is too early to tell who Mr Kurz will enter into a coalition with if he does return to power, as everything is reported to be open for discussion.



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