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Talks to build right-wing Austrian government on 'home stretch'

Europe
14.12.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Vienna (dpa) - Austria‘s conservatives and right-wing populists are close to an agreement on forming the next government, conservative leader Sebastian Kurz told reporters on Thursday.

"We are on the home stretch," said the 31-year-old who is set to become Europe‘s youngest head of government in the wake of October elections.

The new government might be formed as early as this weekend, according to media reports citing sources close to the talks.

The centre-right People‘s Party (OeVP) and the populist Freedom Party (FPOe) still have to finalize the list of ministers, according to Kurz, who had already updated President Alexander Van der Bellen about the talks.

He added that both sides have yet to agree on the FPOe‘s plan to strengthen direct democracy by making it easier to launch public votes on policy issues.

The OeVP won the October 15 election, while the FPOe gained voter support.

Some of the policy plans of the two parties are opposed by social democrats, liberals and trade unions.

One increasingly contentious policy is the new government‘s plan to revoke a strict smoking ban in restaurants and bars that was supposed to come into force next year.

The right-wing government also plans tax breaks for families with children, but critics say that single mothers and low-income families will not profit from these rebates.

 

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