- Title: Austria's Far-right party celebrates despite election loss
- Date: 29th September 2019
- Summary: VIENNA, AUSTRIA (SEPTEMBER 29, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FREEDOM PARTY SUPPORTERS CHEERING AND DANCING WITH LITTLE AUSTRIA FLAGS
- Embargoed: 13th October 2019 21:35
- Keywords: Freedom Party Norbert Hofer snap election polling station voting
- Location: VIENNA, AUSTRIA
- City: VIENNA, AUSTRIA
- Country: Austria
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA001AYPNGHZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:FPO leader Norbert Hofer blamed election losses in Austria's snap election on Sunday on the 'load' the party has had to carry since a video sting scandal that forced FPO Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache to step down in May, which in turn brought on the collapse in May of then Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPO).
Conservative leader Sebastian Kurz triumphed in Sunday's parliamentary election, as widely expected, but he will need a coalition partner to form a stable government and the vote left him several options across the political spectrum.
Kurz, 33, has been largely unscathed by the Strache-scandal, even gaining voters from the FPO as its support has slipped to roughly a fifth of the electorate from a little more than a quarter in the last vote in 2017.
As predicted by opinion polls for months, Kurz's People's Party (OVP) came a comfortable first, with 37.2% of the vote, according to a projection by pollster SORA for national broadcaster ORF published soon after voting ended.
The Social Democrats came second with 22.0%, well ahead of the FPO on 16.0% and the resurgent Greens on 14.3%, the projection showed. It has a margin of error of 1.8 percentage points.
Kurz has said he will talk to all parties if he wins the election. His two most likely choices are either to ally with the FPO again or with the Greens and liberal Neos. A centrist coalition with the Social Democrats is possible but unlikely under their current leadership.
As the campaign wound up last week, the FPO sought to focus attention on its core issue of migration, railing against immigrants in general and Muslims in particular, rather than addressing recent scandals that have eroded its support and could hurt Kurz's image if he allies with the FPO again.
The widespread assumption among politicians and analysts is that the election will be followed by a long period of coalition talks. The current provisional government of civil servants led by former judge Brigitte Bierlein could therefore remain in place until Christmas or later.
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