Home Malta Winds Anti-immigration conservative set to win back power in Austria

Anti-immigration conservative set to win back power in Austria


most prominent anti-immigration lawmaker looks all set to return to power, not
even four months since his premiership ended.

Kurz, leader of the conservative Austrian People’s Party, is leading opinion
polls ahead of Sunday’s vote. He had been elected as Austrian Chancellor back
in 2017, but his coalition government collapsed in May this year after a
far-right coalition ally got embroiled in a cash-for-contracts scandal. Kurz
rose to prominence in Austrian and European politics during 2015, when
criticizing Germany’s “open-arm” immigration policy.

33-year-old made a name for trying to solve the migration crisis, Mathew
Rodger, an analyst and the Economist Intelligence Unit, told CNBC over the
phone. He added that Kurz’s tough stance on immigration is still enjoyed by
right wing voters as well as those that would traditionally vote for his
conservative party.

Opinion polls,
out last Sunday, showed Kurz getting 34% of the vote, followed by the Socialist
Party with 22% of support. His former coalition partner, the Freedom Party
(FPO), came third in the same poll with 20% of the voting intentions.

The Freedom
Party, which one of its slogans reads “loyal to the homeland”, saw public
support declining in the wake of the Ibiza gate scandal in May – when its party
leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, was filmed trying to trade public contracts in
exchange for party donations from a woman that he believed was the wealthy
niece of a Russian oligarch.

resigned in the wake of the scandal. The Freedom Party is now being led by
Norbert Hofer and public support for the party has slowly grown.

As a result,
Rodger expects the “reformation of the previous government” – a coalition
between Sebastian Kurz’s conservative party and the Freedom Party, one of
Europe’s oldest far-right movements.

surprise has been how well the core support for the right has held,” the EIU
analyst added.

In a note
out on Monday, Rodger said while Kurz had given no indication as to his
preferred coalition partner he will have three options: “The far-right Freedom
Party; the centre-left Social Democratic Party; or a three-way coalition with
the environmentalist Greens and the liberal NEOS party.”

Polls have
also shown growing support for the Green party, recently placing fourth with
12% of the voting intentions.

Heinisch said Kurz could well opt to buy off support from the Green party, in exchange for a more climate-friendly agenda, even though they have different views when it comes to economic policy.

source: cnbc.com

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