Austria election: Young conservative Sebastian Kurz claims victory as voters shift to right

Austria election: Young conservative Sebastian Kurz claims victory as voters shift to right, by the ABC.

Young conservative star Sebastian Kurz has declared victory as Austria’s next leader, but his party fell short of a majority in Sunday’s election and will likely seek a coalition with the resurgent far right.

By taking a hard line on immigration that left little difference between him and the far-right Freedom Party (FPO), the 31-year-old Foreign Minister managed to propel his People’s Party to first place and draw some support away from an FPO buoyed by Europe’s migration crisis.

Austria elections, by Jacquelin Magnay.

An anti-immigration and anti European Union surge has underpinned a likely right wing coalition government in Austria headed by the world’s youngest leader, the 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz.

Early results from Sunday’s election show that Kurz’s conservative People’s Party (ÖVP), was on track to win the election with 31.7 per cent support with the Social Democrats on 26.9 per cent and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) with 26 per cent.

The Freedom Party, which saw a five per cent up swing in support campaigned on cutting migration, and will be the king maker in forming a ruling coalition between the Peoples Party and the Social Democrats.

The likely combination of the Peoples Party and Freedom Party would be a severe blow to the EU leaders with Austria set to become a niggling voice in Brussels just as the EU seeks to take a firm stance in negotiations with Brexit. …

Central to his appeal was a vow to shut down the migrant route into Austria and limit social benefit payments to migrants until they have lived in the country for five years.

Well done, Mrs Merkel.

Philip Barton comments:

No one in the media accused Kurz of being ‘far right’. I find that interesting because it strongly implies that the mood has shifted.

Strache and Kurz together polled 58% and they both ran on anti-immigration. Kurz seems sincere; I don’t think that it was just a clever sizing up of the zeitgeist (having lived there, I follow the Austrian news).

Along with Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and a few others, the madness is about to end. No welfare for five years is an announced policy of Kurz. Others will pick it up. If Germany, France and Belgium don’t also toe the line, they will be flooded with migrants fleeing the ‘no welfare’ parts of the Euro zone. It seems plausible that they too will declare ‘no welfare for five years’.

No welfare will mean the immediate departure of all the new migrants. Without welfare, I believe that they will leave Europe. I hope that is so, but there may be an element of wishful thinking there 🙂

hat-tip Stephen Neil