Austrians go to the polls today to elect a new parliament, following the collapse of Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz’s coalition government in May over the “Ibiza Scandal”.
Polling suggests that Kurz’s Austrian People’s Party (OPV) could win around 34% of the 183 seats in the Austrian parliament—partly by taking votes from its damaged former coalition partner, the populist Freedom Party (FPO).
This would open up options for Kurz to form a three-party government with the centre-left Greens and pro-business NEOS party, or controversially return to the FPO—a possibility that Kurz has refused to rule out.
An OPV-Green-NEOS centrist alliance would compromise Kurz’s power as it would put a greater focus on anti-corruption and pro-environment measures. Conversely, a return to the FPO would continue Kurz’s anti-immigration agenda, a key policy.
Ultimately, expect Kurz to enhance his standing with the electorate despite this year’s scandals. This is a boon for conservative issues in the EU. An FPO coalition will enhance his voice in Europe on curbing immigration. A potentially difficult Green coalition will restrict his anti-immigration bent but may speak to the other part of his brand as a change-agent and advocate for EU reforms.
John is a Senior Analyst with an interest in Indo-Pacific geopolitics. Master of International Relations (Australian National University) graduate with study focus on the Indo-Pacific. Qualified lawyer (University of Auckland, NZ) with experience in post-colonial Pacific & NZ legal systems.