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Austria elections: Sebastian Kurz's OVP 'leads' vote

Parliamentary poll could see young conservative beat the far right at its own game with a tough refugee policy.

Sebastian Kurz

The conservative People's Party (OVP), led by 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, is projected to finish first in Austria's snap parliamentary election, according to exit polls that suggest a clear shift to the right.

The latest forecasts showed centre-right OVP holding onto first place, winning 31.5 percent of Sunday's vote.

But, in constrast to initial exit polls, they also had the Social Democratic Party moving from third to second place, edging out the far-right Freedom Party (FPO). The Social Democrats were projected to win 27.1 percent, followed by FPO with 25.9 percent.

According to the exit polls, Kurz's OVP is well short of a majority. The most likely outcome appears to be a coalition government led by the OVP with the support of the far-right FPO.

Austria's election arrived almost a year earlier than expected, following a breakdown of an OVP-SPO coalition government in May.

Kurz, named OVP leader in May, pledged to shake up Austrian politics, which for decades has been dominated by coalitions between his party and SPO.

He built his popularity by adopting many of the FPO's mantras, making this an election defined by issues raised by the far right, such as stricter immigration and the role of Islam in Austrian society.

Austria elections


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