Austria’s centrist coalition partners scraped together a combined majority in Sunday’s election, but a strong showing by the far-right and a new liberal party has left them battered and bruised.
Polling just over 50 percent of the vote it was their worst electoral performance since World War Two.
Chancellor Werner Faymann and his Social Democrats have offered talks with their conservative allies.
“What was true before the elections, stays true. To build a stable government in this country, without the far-right Freedom Party,” Werner Faymann told supporters at SPO headquarters.
But both Faymann and People’s Party leader Michael Spindelegger have said there can be no return to business as usual in the face of such dwindling support.
In fact Spindelegger has not ruled out a coalition including the third placed far-right Freedom Party. The FPO which seeks to end tax-payer-funded bailouts of weaker eurozone countries was also boosted by a strong youth vote.
The evening’s other surprise winner was the new liberal party Neos which polled above the four percent threshold to enter parliament for the first time.