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Change at the top ahead of Austrian elections

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Change at the top ahead of Austrian elections


The senior party in Austria’s Grand Coalition will today elect a new leader to revive its chances in next month’s elections.

Outgoing Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer will officially hand the reins of the centre-left Social Democrat Party, the SPÖ, to Werner Faymann.

It comes less than two years after Gusenbauer steered the SPÖ to a narrow election win. Since then the party’s popularity has plummetted, with Gusenbauer taking the brunt of the criticism for failing to keep his campaign promises.

With only a one per cent winning margin in the 2006 vote, the SPÖ had little choice but to form a coalition with the centre-right People’s Party, the ÖVP. The marriage-of-convenience proved to be short-lived.

According to the latest polls, the conservatives in the ÖVP are on course to come out on top in the September 28 snap election, which would give them the right to choose the next chancellor.

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