Right-wing win in Austria rattles European Union
Sunday’s election victor Sebastian Kurz, 31, will govern the country in a coalition with the far-right party, sending shivers up the spineless spine of the European Union.
Chancellor Christian Kern and his Social Democrats ran second in the elections with the anti-immigration, anti-EU Freedom Party an impressive third.
Kurz, the world’s youngest leader, dislikes Kern and will form a coalition with far-right leader Heinz-Christian Strache, 48, (right in photo), in a dramatic and game-changing triumph for European populists.
The sharp right turn by the EU’s wealthy member-state presents the latest threat to Europe’s elitists liberals in Brussels who are beleaguered by the continuing Brexit movement and the rise of nationalism in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.
Kurz will take a hard line on the rampant mass immigration initiated and encouraged by the EU. He also vowed to drastically cut taxes.
“With Kurz we have a new start for the country,” said one voter, speaking for many Austrians who have had enough of the EU’s dictatorial tactics.
Austria has just seen a “massive rightward shift,” said the defeated Kern, his words meant as a warning, but coming across to Austrians as words of hope.
Depending on which side you’re on, the Austrian election result is being both praised and condemned as the “normalisation” of Europe’s far-right.
Strache’s Freedom Party, founded by ex-Nazis in the 1950s, did almost as well in Sunday’s elections as its record showing in 1999 under the charismatic leadership of Jörg Haider (in photo), who died in a car accident in 2008.