Bojan Pancevski, Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2019
The party of former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz won an election months after his government collapsed, a turnaround that in a rare development on Europe’s fractured political landscape saw antiestablishment populists suffer a significant decline.
Mr. Kurz’s conservative People’s Party took 38.4% of Sunday’s vote, according to the preliminary official results, his party’s best result in years and up more than six percentage points from its 2017 score. The nationalist Freedom Party slumped more than eight points, to 17.3%.
Mr. Kurz lost a parliamentary vote of confidence in May after the leader of the Freedom Party, then junior partner in his administration, was shown promising public contracts for political support in a hidden-camera video.
Mr. Kurz now faces what some analysts said will be long and complex coalition negotiations.
Mr. Kurz has repeatedly rejected a coalition with the Social Democrats, who came in second with 21.5%.
One aide to Mr. Kurz said he would, however, consider an alliance of conservatives, Greens and free-market liberals, which has been dubbed the Dirndl Coalition after the colors of the local folk attire, which match those of the three parties.
Aides to Mr. Kurz told The Wall Street Journal that rural voters and party officials favored a renewed coalition with the nationalists, while urban groups preferred an alliance with the Greens and the pro-business Neos.