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Voting underway for parliamentary polls in Austria, Sebastian Kurz likely to return to power

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ANI Europe
Voting for the parliamentary elections are underway in Austria, with former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz likely to return to power months after a corruption scandal brought down his coalition government with the far right.
With 6.4 million people eligible to vote, polling stations across Austria opened at 7 a.m. (local time) on Sunday, Al Jazeera reported.
Kurz's conservative People's Party (OVP) is predicted to win but face difficulties in forming a coalition government in case of a tie.
The vote follows the collapse of Kurz's coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) in May after a video sting operation that forced Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the FPO to step down.
Kurz, 33, has emerged largely unscathed from the scandal, even gaining voters from the FPO whose support has slipped to roughly one-fifth of the electorate from just over a quarter in the last vote in 2017.
On the left, there has been some shift in support from the Social Democrats to the resurgent Greens.
Opinion polls have generally shown OVP far ahead on roughly a third of the vote, the Social Democrats slightly ahead of the FPO and the Greens a distant fourth.
Kurz has said he will talk to all parties after the election if he comes out on top.
His two most likely options are either to ally with the FPO again or with the Greens and the pro-business Neos.
A centrist coalition with the Social Democrats is possible but unlikely under their current leadership.
The polling is likely to close by 5 p.m. (local time).

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First Published: Sep 29 2019 | 8:32 PM IST

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