Austria’s next chancellor in coalition talks

EPA-EFE/CHRISTIAN BRUNA

Austrian Foreign Minister and leader of the Austrian Peoples' Party (OeVP), Sebastian Kurz, delivers a press statement at the party headquarters in Vienna, Austria, 24 October 2017.

Austria’s next chancellor in coalition talks


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Talks over a new government should not last more than two months, according to Austria’s likely next chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.

Kurz, whose People’s Party (OVP) secured 31.5% of the vote in last week’s parliamentary election, has to form a government. He is currently holding an initial round of discussions with the leaders of all parties in parliament.

“The Austrians expect that there is quickly a strong and stable government which takes up work,” Kurz was quoted as saying by Austria’s Kronen Zeitung. “That means that negotiations should be concluded in less than 60 days.”

As reported by the Reuters news agency, Kurz campaigned on a platform that combined a hard line on immigration similar to that of the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) with traditional conservative principles like slimming down the state and cutting taxes.

To form his coalition, only two of Austria’s parliamentary parties, the Social Democrats (SPO) and FPO, have enough seats to give Kurz a majority if they go into coalition with the OVP.

In a separate interview with tabloid Oesterreich, Kurz said his party has common ground with the FPO and that he had already held constructive talks with FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache.

“In the conversation with Heinz-Christian Strache, I also had the impression that he has a strong willingness to effect change and creative drive,” Kurz was quoted as saying by OE24.

“But now I will conclude these talks on Sunday, and then take up coalition negotiations with a partner.”

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