Austrian election winner Sebastian Kurz will face a tough fight this week to form a coalition, despite his resounding success in Sunday's poll.
Kurz & # 39; s center-right ÖVP party won 37 percent of the vote, a clear improvement on the 2017 result.
It puts the 33-year-old in pole position to return as a chancellor, but he will almost certainly need a new coalition partner after his previous allies, the extreme right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ), suffered a severe corruption scandal.
The mood of the FPÖ fell by almost 10 percentage points. Former leader Heinz-Christian Strache was hit by further expenditure allegations in the week before the vote.
The first government of Kurz collapsed in May after Strache was caught on video that allegedly traded favors with a fake Russian investor.
Austrian election winner Sebastian Kurz (photo last night in Vienna) sent his center-right party to a resounding victory in Sunday's poll, but faces a difficult task of forming a coalition
Norbert Hofer, the leader of the extreme right-wing FPÖ, reacts to Austrian TV last night after his party suffered the polls in the aftermath of a corruption scandal
Dejected FPÖ leader Norbert Hofer, who replaced Strache, said that steps toward & # 39; reconstruction & # 39; of the party will be announced in the coming days.
He did not rule out deporting Strache if the allegations of the costs turned out to be true.
Former judge Brigitte Bierlein leads an interim government since the Kurz-FPÖ alliance – praised by European nationalists including Viktor Orban of Hungary – fell apart over the scandal.
Kurz itself, however, was largely unaffected by the so-called & # 39; Ibiza port & # 39; affair, named after the island where the incriminating images were made.
Kurz can now turn to Sunday's other big winners, the Green Party, who achieved their best result of around 14 percent ever – a dramatic revival since 2017 when they did not go to parliament.
The Greens and the ÖVP are already in the government in the provinces of Tyrol and Salzburg.
Green party leader Werner Kogler celebrates Sunday evening with supporters in Vienna after the party has achieved the best result ever on Sunday
Kurz (left) was previously in a coalition with Heinz-Christian Strache (right) of the extreme right-wing Freedom Party, but it collapsed after Strache was caught in a corruption scandal
However, working together at a national level can be more difficult.
National green leader Werner Kogler said on Sunday that the party should consider whether or not a coalition makes any sense.
& # 39; Radical change & # 39; would be needed from the Kurz party, said Kogler, who pointed not only to measures against climate change, but also to fighting corruption and poverty.
Polls by the SORA Institute show that voters from both parties are skeptical of each other, with only 20 percent of ÖVP voters wanting to see the Greens in the government and 32 percent of green voters wanting the ÖVP in the government.
Kurz could also consider the most traditional form of government in Austria, a & # 39; big coalition & # 39; between the ÖVP and the center-left Social Democrats (SPÖ).
Although mathematically possible, this is hampered by the fact that the SPÖ share of the vote dropped five points to around 22 percent, the party's worst post-war outcome.
Kurz, pictured with journalists after cast his vote in Vienna yesterday, became Austria's youngest chancellor in 2017 when he took office at the age of 31
Pamela Rendi-Wagner (photo) of the Austrian Social-Democratic Party clashed with Kurz on the campaign track and her party suffered the worst result since the Second World War
As a result, SPÖ leaders are unwilling to enter the government, while Kurz also had several heated exchanges with SPÖ leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner on the campaign track.
According to political scientist Peter Filzmaier: & # 39; Kurz must disappoint some of his voters, regardless of with whom he enters into a coalition & # 39 ;.
For example, a partnership with the SPÖ or the Greens would be difficult to explain to the approximately 258,000 voters who are estimated to have moved to Kurz from the far right.
A final option for Kurz would be a minority government.
& # 39; That has become very, very tempting for him & # 39 ;, says analyst Johannes Huber.
But even this scenario would require the support of another party in order for the ÖVP to survive the most important votes in parliament.
If that fails, the country may be asked to go to the polls again within a few months.
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