Austria's Kurz in trouble despite EU win

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's conservatives won 34.9 per cent of the vote in EU elections.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's conservatives won 34.9 per cent of the vote in EU elections.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's conservatives have won the Austrian European elections by a wide margin, but opposition parties are threatening to vote him out of office in parliament within days.

The no-confidence motion was triggered by the recent collapse of Kurz's coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe).

The Eurosceptic populists face corruption allegations because of a video sting that showed FPOe vice chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache seeking foreign donations while offering public works contracts and media deals.

A few days after Kurz called early elections and formed a minority caretaker cabinet, his People's Party (OeVP) won 34.9 per cent of the vote on Sunday, nearly eight percentage points more than in 2014.

"Whatever may happen tomorrow, we have been strengthened," Kurz said.

The opposition Social Democrats (SPOe) were unable to profit from the government crisis and ended up with with 23.4 per cent in the European Parliament election, 0.7 points less than last time.

SPOe chief Pamela Rendi-Wagner announced Sunday her party would call a no-confidence vote against Kurz and his government on Monday. The leftist Jetzt (Now) party previously announced a rival motion to depose only Kurz.

The opposition has pointed out that it was Kurz who brought down the previous OeVP coalition with the SPOe in 2017, brought the FPOe to power that year and forced snap elections again this year.

The FPOe only lost 2.5 points on Sunday and collected 17.2 per cent of votes.

Australian Associated Press