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Austria’s People’s Party (OVP) leader Sebastian Kurz won 31.6 per cent of the ballots in the parliamentary vote, followed by the Social Democratic Party (SPOe) with 26.9 per cent, according to the election final count on Sunday, October 15, 2017 (not including absentee Ballots).
By winning the election, Kurz became Europe’s youngest leader at the age of 31.
The liberal Neos party and the Liste Pilz group are also set to be represented in parliament, with 5.1 per cent and 4.3 per cent. The Greens plummeted to 3.9 per cent and will likely have to lose their legislative seats.
The projection is based on 100 per cent of the regular ballots and includes a forecast of absentee ballots that will be counted by Thursday. The final result may end up 0.7 percentage points higher or lower.
“I can promise you today that I will fight for change in this country with all my power,” Kurz told supporters at a rally. “I accept this responsibility with great humility.”
Kurz suggested he is open to talks with other parties. “I would of course like to form a stable government. If that cannot be done then there are other options,” Kurz announced.
Finance Minister Hans Jörg Schelling, a member of the ÖVP, told DW that the center-right party – as a whole – is open to talks with both the FPÖ and the Social Democrats. Meanwhile, SPÖ chief Christian Kern said he will stay on as his party’s leader despite losing to his government’s junior coalition partner.
Three parties, and two messages, were vying for first place in the general election: the center-left Social Democrats (SPO) were campaigning on reducing social inequality, while the People’s Party (OVP) and far-right Freedom Party (FPO) have focused on concerns about Immigration.
Migration: Austria’s main concern
Before the elections, campaigning focused on migration, notably the 2015 migration crisis that polarized European politics.
That year, Austria was used as a gateway for nearly 900,000 migrants making their way to Germany. It also received more than 68,000 applications for asylum in 2015, one of the highest proportions on the continent compared to the Population.
While the center-left SPÖ campaigned on a track record of lowering unemployment and of economic growth, Kurz’s ÖVP promised to prevent a repeat of 2015’s wave of migration and cut access to social welfare benefits for newcomers for at least five years.
In a poll by state broadcaster ORF, 55 percent of respondents that voted for the ÖVP said they did so because of their stance on asylum and integration.
More than 6.4 million Austrians were eligible to vote. The last polling stations closed at 1500 GMT (11 a.m. EDT). Final results aren’t expected until later this coming week, when the last of the absentee ballots and ballots cast at polling stations outside a voter’s district are counted
— Hector Pascua, philippine-press.com
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