Austria set to elect Europe's youngest leader

Austria's Foreign Minister and leader of Austria's centre-right People's Party (OeVP) Sebastian Kurz waves to supporters during the party's election event following the general elections in Vienna, on Oct 15, 2017.
Austria's Foreign Minister and leader of Austria's centre-right People's Party (OeVP) Sebastian Kurz waves to supporters during the party's election event following the general elections in Vienna, on Oct 15, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

Austria's conservative chief Sebastian Kurz looked set to become Europe's youngest leader after parliamentary elections yesterday, with projections placing him ahead of the far right and the ruling Social Democrats (SPO).

The People's Party (OVP), rebranded by the 31-year-old as his personal "movement", is in the lead with 30.2 per cent of the vote, followed by the anti-immigration Freedom Party with 26.8 per cent and the SPO with 26.3 per cent, based on an early count.

Immigration and fair access to social security has dominated OVP's electoral campaign, as the swell of anxiety over immigration to Austria began building since 2015, when almost 70,000 mostly Muslim refugees sought asylum from war-torn countries.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2017, with the headline 'Austria set to elect Europe's youngest leader'. Print Edition | Subscribe