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1ST LEAD Austrian right-wing parties form government coalition By Albert Otti, dpa

Europe
15.12.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Vienna (dpa) - Austria‘s conservatives and right-wing populists have reached an agreement to form a new government on Friday, sources close to the talks told dpa.

Sebastian Kurz, the 31-year-old head of the conservative People‘s Party (OeVP), will become Europe‘s youngest government leader.

Freedom Party (FPOe) leader Heinz-Christian Strache is set to become vice chancellor, as yet another populist movement enters a European cabinet.

Following October elections, it took Kurz and Strache around seven weeks to negotiate the coalition pact.

Their aim was to lower income tax, slim down bureaucracy, strengthen direct democracy and further restrict immigration.

Both parties have yet to present their full policy agenda and their final choices of cabinet members.

The FPOe has been demanding to fill the interior and foreign and ministry posts, and it has already presented the independent Middle East policy analyst Karin Kneissl as its choice.

However, OeVP and FPOe have announced a few of their planned policies in recent weeks. They include cutting welfare for refugees and separate elementary school classes for migrant children who do not yet speak German.

In addition, they want to repeal a strict smoking ban for restaurants and bars that was scheduled to come into force next year.

Kurz‘s OeVP won October elections by adopting some of FPOe positions on curbing immigration and on countering a perceived threat of Islamization.

The OeVP relegated the Social Democrats to second place, ending the coalition between these two parties that had grown increasingly fraught in the past few years.

The FPOe, which gained voter shares in October, has previously been a junior partner in coalition cabinets in the 1986-87 and 2000-05.

Right-wing populist and national-conservative parties are currently represented in several governments in the European Union, namely in Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia.

 

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