Chancellor Werner Faymann of the Social Democrats and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger of the People’s Party, leaders of Austria’s ruling coalition, might have felt a little more pressure than usual on Sunday as they headed to the polling booths to cast their votes in the country’s general election.
Opinion polls suggested that they might be given a run for their money by the resurgent right-wing Freedom Party. Early exit polls however, indicate that the natural order might be restored.
Heinz-Christian Strache’s who heads the Freedom Party found support for a euro-sceptic agenda that rejected further financial handouts to debt-saddled EU countries. Voters are also frustrated by the corruption scandals that have hit Austria.
Some opinion polls even placed the Freedom Party ahead of the conservative People’s Party. Failure for the coalition to secure a combined majority would force them to turn to the Greens.
It would be an unprecedented move, since the coalition partners have traditionally dominated post-war politics in Austria.
So close is the result, that the outcome might not be clear until domestic absentee ballots are counted by Monday.