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Far-right makes big gains in Austrian election

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Far-right makes big gains in Austrian election


Austria’s far-right parties have made big gains in the country’s elections but despite their performance they look set to miss out on a place in a ruling coalition. The FPO, led by Heinz-Christian Strache, is projected to win 35 seats in the 183-seat parliament. That is 14 more seats than the extreme-right party won in the last ballot, in October 2006. He called it an “historic result.”

Austria’s other far-right party, Jorg Haider’s BZö, also enjoyed a successful night. It trippled its number of parliamentary seats from seven to 21. Haider said that the score showed that a current was crossing Austria, demanding that his party take part in the next government.

All told, the country’s two far-right parties combined are predicted to win around 28 percent of all votes cast. The social democrats of Werner Faymann finished first, just as they had done at the last election. The centre-left party received around 30 percent of the vote but that would be a net loss of six percentage points since 2006.

Faymann is almost certainly Austria’s next chancellor but first he must form a coalition. He said this would not include either Haider or Strache’s parties. The snap election was provoked by Wilhelm Molterer’s decision to pull his centre-right OVP out of the ruling coalition. The party lost 17 seats.

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