Austria became the latest European country to take a sharp turn right on Sunday, with the conservative People’s Party riding a hard-line position on immigration to victory in national elections and likely to form a government with a nationalist party that has long advocated for an even tougher stance. The result puts the 31-year-old foreign minister and People’s Party leader, Sebastian Kurz, in line to become Austria’s next chancellor after a campaign in which he emphasized the need to strengthen border controls, reduce caps on refugees and slash benefits for newcomers. Much of Kurz’s rhetoric echoed positions long held by the Freedom Party, which for decades has anchored the far right of politics in this nation of 8.7 million.
With nearly all results counted as of Monday morning, the Freedom Party was in second place at 27.4 percent, with the ruling Social Democrats trailing close behind at 26.7 percent. The People’s Party was the decisive winner, at 31.6 percent.
“I’ll fight with all my strength for change in this country,” Kurz told cheering supporters — many clad in turquoise, the color he adopted to signal a new era for the People’s Party after decades of identification with black. “There’s a lot to do.”