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The rise of Sebastian Kurz, an Austrian ‘Macron’?

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Austria, Vienna – At the height of a government crisis, the Austrian Conservative party ÖVP has chosen a new leader: the current foreign minister, Sebastian Kurz, who is 30 years old.

The conservative ÖVP party, member of the Austrian coalition of Chancellor Christian Kern, has chosen a new party leader in the person of the young and brilliant Sebastian Kurz.

But to take the lead of the Austrian right-wing party, the current foreign minister has set his conditions: he wants his hands free to act. The Austrian press is concerned about the future “dictatorship” of the young Kurz and evokes the 1930s.

After Macron in France, Kurz in Austria?

One year ahead of the elections, the government seems ready to explode since the coalition no longer holds, as the national daily Der Standard notes, and as the Social-Democratic chancellor Christian Kern also acknowledged. In this context, the newly-elected Conservative leader is calling for snap elections this fall.

Able to fit into centrist policies, even with the clientelistic policies towards immigrants, and sometimes taking a firm stance on immigration and Islam, Sebastian Kurz is cutting short the national-liberal party FPÖ, in what seems to be a “Macron”-based strategy.

However, the FPÖ remains at the top of the polls, and since the Austrian political system functions on the principle of proportionality, the national-liberal party could well enter the government. “The consequences would be important,” said Chancellor Kern.

For some commentators, and as Deutsche Welle points out, Kurz could pave the way for a coalition of rights under his Chancellery, which he hopes to win by reforming the ÖVP as it pleases him for a flash campaign in sight of possible elections this autumn. The government could then be formed with an ÖVP-FPÖ coalition. Together, the two parties lack only three seats needed to have a majority. Kurz is popular and the FPÖ is at the top of the polls.