Austria video scandal has made leader of Conservative people’s party Sebastian Kurz most favorite to form new government in snap general election.
Austria’s conservative People’s Party, led by former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, appears to be heading for a clear victory in the general election.
First projected results suggest Mr Kurz’s party won about 37% of the vote, up from 31% last time round.
His former coalition partners, the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), received less than 17%, a sharp fall.
The snap general election was called after a scandal caused the previous coalition government to collapse.
Mr Kurz, 33, could choose to renew his alliance with the Freedom Party – the source of the scandal – but may want to look at other options.
A three-way pact with the Greens (forecast to get 13.1%) and the liberal Neos party (7.8%) is not out of the question. A grand coalition with the Social Democrats (22.5%) is considered less likely.
Coalition talks are widely expected to be difficult, and may last for weeks.
Polling stations opened at 07:00 (05:00 GMT) and closed at 17:00. Some 6.4 million people were eligible to vote in the election.
After casting his ballot on Sunday, Mr Kurz briefly addressed reporters.
“Our most important election goal is that there will be no majority [in parliament] against us,” he said.
Norbert Hofer, leader of the scandal-hit Freedom Party, told reporters after casting his vote: “What is important for us is that we have a solid base from which to both strengthen both the FPÖ and work in government.”
Clara Heisinger, a voter in Vienna, said that she hoped the election would mark an end to political drama.
“We had too much chaos in the last months. We hope for something less chaotic,” she said.
It began in May when German media outlets published a video involving Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache then leader of the FPÖ.
The sting video had been secretly recorded before the 2017 election at a villa in the Spanish island of Ibiza.
In it, Mr Strache is seen promising government contracts to a woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch.
About Sebastian Kurz
Sebastian Kurz is son of a secretary and a teacher, he became active in the ÖVP at the age of 16.
As a law student in Vienna he was elected chairman of the party’s youth wing. He quit his studies in 2011 to become a junior interior minister, rising to foreign minister in 2013 at the age of 27.
Two years later he presented a plan to improve the integration of immigrants. However, he was full of praise for Hungary’s populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and claimed credit for closing the Balkan migrant route in 2016.
Elected chairman in May 2017, he rebranded the party as the Turquoise Movement then served as chancellor from December 2017 to May 2019, when the Ibiza-gate brought down the coalition.
Austria video scandal was recorded before 2017 elections.