Austria: Ex-Chancellor Kurz’s party tops snap polls

VIENNA

Former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s center-right Austrian People’s Party on Sunday looks to have come in first in Austria’s snap parliamentary polls.

The party won a plurality of Sunday’s vote with 37.2%, according to initial exit polls.

The Social Democrats came in second place with 22% and the far-right Freedom Party was third with 16%.

Two years since the previous elections, Austrians today elected 183 members of parliament.

Voting started at 7 a.m. local time (0500GMT) and finished at 5 p.m. (1500GMT).

The elections will designate Austria’s 33rd government with 1,476 parliamentary candidates, including 27 of Turkish-origin.

The decision for snap polls came after the collapse of a 17-month far-right coalition this May after then-Vice Chancellor and Freedom Party head Heinz Christian Strache stepped down due to a corruption scandal revealed through video footage.

For almost four months, the country has been ruled by former Constitutional Court head Brigitte Bierlein — appointed chancellor by President Alexander Van der Bellen — and the interim government she formed with high-level bureaucrats.
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