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1ST LEAD Austria's far-right party bags key ministries in new coalition By Sandra Walder, dpa

Europe
16.12.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Vienna (dpa) - Austria‘s right-wing populist Freedom Party (FPOe) will take over key ministries in the country‘s new government as part of a coalition led by incoming chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

The presentation of the new cabinet followed seven weeks of talks between Kurz‘s conservative People‘s Party (OeVP) and the FPOe.

The 31-year-old Kurz is set to become the youngest head of government in Europe.

Both the Interior and Defence Ministries will go to FPOe politicians.

The FPOe nominated Karin Kneissl, a 52-year-old Middle East expert who is not a member of the right-wing party, as Austria‘s top diplomat, party leader Heinz-Christian Strache said Saturday in Vienna.

"With this, we continue the tradition of the independent foreign minister," Strache said.

The government is due to be sworn in on Monday.

According to a 180-page government pact also published Saturday, there can be no wavering from Austria‘s EU membership or participation in other international organizations.

"Only in a strong Europe can there also be a strong Austria in which we have the ability to grasp the opportunities of the 21st Century," the pact‘s prologue reads.

Additional goals for the OeVP and FPOe, as outlined during the election campaign, include ending illegal migration and expediting the asylum process.

They also aim to create 2,100 new police positions, introduce more flexible working hours, lower taxes and give families some tax relief.

 

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