Austrian vote could tilt country right, install young leader

By on October 15, 2017


FILE: Polling places are opening in Austria, where voters will decide whether the country moves right after decades of centrist policies and the result could pave the way for Europe's youngest government leader.(Photo by James Cridland/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)
FILE: Polling places are opening in Austria, where voters will decide whether the country moves right after decades of centrist policies and the result could pave the way for Europe’s youngest government leader. (Photo by James Cridland/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

VIENNA — Polling places are opening in Austria, where voters will decide whether the country moves right after decades of centrist policies and the result could pave the way for Europe’s youngest government leader.

Three parties are vying for first place in Sunday’s national election: the Social Democrats, the People’s Party and the Freedom Party.

The centre-left Social Democrats have campaigned on reducing social inequality. The other two have focused on concerns about immigration and Islam.

Both the People’s Party and the Freedom Party have called for securing Austria’s borders and quickly deporting asylum-seekers whose requests are denied. Polls show the popularity of People’s Party head Sebastian Kurz has put his party ahead.

The 31-year-old Kurz would become Europe’s youngest leader if his party wins and he can form a government.