Can Austria’s Kurz Emulate Macron and Keep the Far-Right Freedom Party at Bay?

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz speaks at a news conference after a meeting of the Austrian People's Party, Vienna, Austria, May 14, 2017 (AP photo by Ronald Zak).
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz speaks at a news conference after a meeting of the Austrian People's Party, Vienna, Austria, May 14, 2017 (AP photo by Ronald Zak).

After a political shake-up last month, Austria is set to be Europe’s next battleground in the fight between mainstream politicians and far-right populists. On May 10, after months of political bickering and party infighting, Reinhold Mitterlehner stepped down as Austria’s vice chancellor and chairman of the center-right Austrian People’s Party, or OVP. That effectively ended Austria’s grand governing coalition between the OVP and the center-left Social Democratic Party, or SPO. A few days later, Chancellor Christian Kern, who leads the SPO, announced that Austria would hold snap parliamentary elections on Oct. 15. Aside from growing frictions within the ruling coalition, […]

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