VIENNA • "Whizz-kid", "Basti Fantasti", "Messiah" - these are just some of the monikers given to the fresh-faced wonder boy who became the Austrian People's Party boss in May.
The takeover by Mr Sebastian Kurz, or "Emperor Kurz", proved radical. First he ended the decade-long unhappy coalition with the Socialists. Then he rebranded the People's Party and its black party colour as a turquoise "movement" tough on immigration and Islam.
The "putting Austrians first" strategy has propelled the sluggish People's Party to pole position in opinion polls, leaving the scandal-plagued Social Democratic Party of Chancellor Christian Kern fighting for second place with the Freedom Party.
Mr Kurz gets a rock star welcome on the campaign trail. Fans in turquoise T-shirts chant his name, women ask if they can hug him. Selfie sessions with Mr Kurz, in his slim-cut suits and tieless white shirts, last over two hours.
The only child of a secretary and a teacher, Mr Kurz joined the party's youth wing in 2003.
As its chief, he drew ridicule with a 2010 council election campaign featuring the "Black makes you hot" slogan.
Mr Kurz posed with skimpily clad girls on top of a black Hummer, the so-called "hot-o-mobile", and distributed black condoms. This blunder notwithstanding, the former law student enjoyed a meteoric rise, becoming secretary of integration in 2011 and foreign minister two years later, aged just 27.
The notoriously private politician - he is seldom seen in public with long-term girlfriend Susanne - left "nothing to chance" and ran a campaign as immaculate as his trademark gelled-back hair, observed Der Standard newspaper.