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Austrian election: Party of ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz set to regain power

Sebastian Kurz

VIENNA , Sep 30 : Sebastian Kurz is set to retake power as his Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) scored 38.4% of Sunday’s vote, preliminary results published by the Austrian Interior Ministry show. Social Democrats (SPO) is coming second with 21.5 percent, the Freedom Party (FPO) will have to settle for some 17.3 percent, while the Greens get 12.4 percent, and the liberal NEOS party 7.4 percent of the vote.With an estimated 71 seats in Austria’s 183-seat parliament, the People’s Party needs to enter a coalition to form a majority.

“I’m overwhelmed, I’m almost speechless. It’s been a tough four months but today the people have voted us back in” — Sebastian Kurz on the election results.

Kurz’s former allies, the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), were the biggest losers, falling 10 percentage points to around 16 percent following the spectacular “Ibiza-gate” corruption scandal in May.

Kurz lost a parliamentary vote of confidence in May after the leader of the Freedom Party, was shown promising public contracts for political support in a hidden-camera video.

Kurz government collapsed in May due to the so-called Ibiza affair. Kurz distanced himself from his former coalition partner, FPO’s Heinz-Christian Strache, a victim of a ‘honeytrap’ featuring an actual femme fatale – a “Russian oligarch’s niece.”It came out a sting operation with a paid actress, and Strache vigorously denied the corruption allegations leveled against him, the OVP-FPO coalition government was soon no more.

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