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Favourite Kurz vows halt to illegal migration ahead of Austria vote

Europe
13.10.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Vienna (dpa) - Austria‘s conservative rising star Sebastian Kurz promised to stop illegal immigration and to implement sweeping tax cuts at his final campaign rally, as he appealed to voters to make him chancellor in Sunday‘s election.

The 31-year-old conservative party chief and foreign minister has appeared as the clear frontrunner in surveys for months.

However, pollsters warned in recent days that the parliamentary election result could end up being narrower than expected, with social democratic Chancellor Christian Kern and far-right leader Heinz-Christian Strache snapping at Kurz‘s heels.

In his final stump speech in central Vienna on Friday, People Party (OeVP) leader Kurz pledged to cut taxes for low- and middle-income citizens.

"And I can also promise today that we will do everything to stop illegal migration to improve order and security in Austria," he added.

Since the refugee crisis swept 90,000 people across Austria‘s borders in 2015, Kurz has adopted the far-right Freedom Party‘s (FPOe) tough immigration stance and made it his main campaign theme.

If the OeVP wins the election, a coalition with the FPOe looks like the most likely scenario.

Chancellor Kern‘s social democrats and the OeVP have formed centrist coalition cabinets for the past decade, but they have become deeply estranged in recent years, as both sides blocked each other‘s proposals.

Some 6.4 million Austrians are eligible to vote on Sunday. The environmentalist Greens and the liberal Neos party also have realistic chances of winning parliamentary seats.

 

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