Austria's far right seeks interior ministry job in coalition talks

2017-10-18 22:45
Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of the Eurosceptic Freedom Party, celebrates in Vienna. (Ronald Zak, AP)

Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of the Eurosceptic Freedom Party, celebrates in Vienna. (Ronald Zak, AP)

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Vienna - Austria's far-right Freedom Party said on Wednesday it wants the top job in the interior ministry in exchange for entering a coalition with election winner Sebastian Kurz.

Kurz's conservative OeVP party won 31.5% of the vote in Sunday's election, near-complete results show and the populist Freedom Party (FPOe), came in third on 26%.

The Social Democrats (SPOe) of incumbent Chancellor Christian Kern came second with 26.9%. 

"We have several red lines," FPOe chairperson Heinz-Christian Strache said in his first media conference since the vote.

"The interior ministry is a precondition" for government participation, he added.

Economic reforms

Strache, 48, said he saw "no reason to rush" the negotiations, which are to due to begin by the end of the week.

"We will not enter into a coalition at any price," the far-right leader said.

The FPOe, whose rise has mirrored that of other populist parties in Europe, is demanding increased border security, Swiss-style direct democracy and economic reforms.

Its leaders have also said Islam "has no place" in Austria.

At 31, Kurz is the world's youngest leader-in-waiting. The conservative is due to be sworn in on Friday and could then be given the go-ahead to begin holding coalition talks with all parties.

Read more on:    sebastian kurz  |  austria

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