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Kurz, 31, a conservative Millennial is Austria's new PM

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KURZ, 31, a conservative Millennial is Austria's new PM


" wants to cut benefits for all foreigners, slash Austria's red tape and keep the EU out of national affairs"


Austrian 'whizz-kid' projected to triumph in election
Austria's Foreign Minister and leader of the centre-right People's Party (OeVP) Sebastian Kurz talks with journalists in Vienna, Austria, on October 15, 2017 (AFP Photo/ALEX HALADA)

Vienna (AFP) - Austria's political "whizz-kid" Sebastian Kurz, 31, looked on course Sunday to become Europe's youngest leader, likely in coalition with the far-right, after his conservative party was projected to come first in elections.

Projections put Kurz's People's Party (OeVP) on 30.2 percent, followed by the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) on 26.8 percent and incumbent Chancellor Christian Kern's Social Democrats (SPOe) on 26.3 percent.

Kurz, nicknamed "wunderwuzzi", is expected to form a coalition with the anti-immigration FPOe of Heinz-Christian Strache, 48.

It would be the first time it has entered government since 2000 under Joerg Haider.

Another option for Kurz would be another "grand coalition" with the SPOe, but after 10 acrimonious years governing together -- ended early by Kurz in May -- this is seen as less likely.

The FPOe's return to power in the wealthy EU member would be a fresh headache for Brussels as it struggles with Brexit and the rise of nationalists in Germany, Hungary, Poland and elsewhere.

Like the Alternative for Germany, which last month became the third-largest party in the Bundestag, and France's National Front, the FPOe has stoked concerns about a record influx of migrants into Europe.

The party was founded by ex-Nazis in the 1950s -- Strache flirted with neo-Nazism in his youth -- and is highly critical of the European Union. It wants EU sanctions on Russia lifted.

In December, the FPOe almost won the presidency and topped opinion polls in the midst of Europe's migrant crisis.

But since taking over the OeVP in May and re-branding it as his personal "movement", Kurz has stolen some of Strache's thunder by talking tough on immigration and criticising the European Union as well.

- 'Crossroads' -

Meanwhile, the once-mighty SPOe looked set to be relegated to the opposition after their campaign suffered blunders and scandals.

Open dislike between ex-railway chief Kern, 51, who gave his party fresh hope when he became chancellor in May 2016, and Kurz also makes any new attempt at ruling together seem unlikely.

But for some voters, the prospect of a far-right alliance is problematic.

"I'm not sure that we really need big changes," Tina Ernest told AFP at a Vienna polling station Sunday.

"I would say that in Austria we still live in paradise."

Kern, in office since last May, issued a final warning Saturday against a right-wing alliance, saying "Austria was at the most important crossroads in decades".

The OeVP and FPOe already shared power between 2000 and 2007. At the time the alliance with the far-right -- then led by the late, SS-admiring Haider -- ostracised Austria.

But there would not be the same backlash now owing to the "normalisation of the far-right in Europe since then," said expert Pepijn Bergsen at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

- 'Austria first' -

Some 6.4 million people were eligible to vote in the closely-watched ballot which is expected to be a tight race.

"I'm feeling optimistic," OeVP party volunteer Michael Brandstetter told AFP in Vienna ahead of the vote.

"The way Kurz goes about things is what has captured people's minds".

For his turquoise movement, Kurz drew young candidates from outside politics and vowed to put "Austrians first" again.

As foreign minister, Kurz claims credit for closing the Balkan migrant trail in 2016, earning him praise at home.

Pushing far-right themes, he wants to cut benefits for all foreigners, slash Austria's red tape and keep the EU out of national affairs -- in common with Strache.


> more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/austria-set-elect-youngest-eu-leader-wing-push-041425791.html

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'Un-Death of Populism

When Emmanuel Macron won the French election, the event was widely regarded as the death of populism. Macron was the anti-Trump savior, or so it was proclaimed.

It was none of that. Rather, it was a vote against Marine Le Pen, not a vote for Macron and his allegedly neither left nor right policies.

Like Trump, Macron has little success implementing his policies. I expect Kurz, if he aligns with the Eurosceptic Freedom Party, to do much of what they set out to do, to the consternation of the EU.'


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The Austrian government has released new crime statistics that show sex attacks have risen by more than 25 per cent since last year and that migrants make up close to half of all known suspects in sex crime cases.

The Austrian Interior Ministry released the figures this week which show that between 2015 and 2016, during the height of the migrant crisis, sex crimes went up 26.18 per cent. The reports also show a disproportionate number of suspects to be of a foreign origin and that Afghan nationals are particularly overrepresented, Kronen Zeitung reports.

The ministry said there were 5,253 sexual offences in 2016, up from the previous year’s number of 4,163.

In cases of rape, individuals of a foreign background make up a disproportionate number of rape suspects representing 44.3 per cent of all suspects in 2016.


In cases of sexual harassment, foreigners made up 43 per cent of suspects. In context, the migrant population of Austria is estimated to be between 10 and 15 per cent.

Afghan nationals make up the largest segment of sex attackers among foreign suspects followed by Romanians, Germans, Serbs, and Turks.

The report comes after another report from earlier this year from Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka who noted that migrant sex offences had increased by a massive 133 per cent in the span of only a year.

The Interior Ministry also noted that individuals of foreign backgrounds were also responsible for around 51 per cent of all the thefts in the country.

Austria is not the only country in which migrants commit a disproportionate amount of crime compared to their share of the overall population. In Germany, their Interior Ministry released a report last year showing migrants being overrepresented in almost all forms of crime.'

Berlin Senate To Investigate Why Migrant Crime Stats So High https://t.co/2zMpx4J7Lk pic.twitter.com/SoUYtJtnO1

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 5, 2017


The issue has become such a problem in cities like Berlin that the Berlin Senate launched an investigation

after reports emerged that almost half of the crime in the German capital was being committed by migrants.

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