The right-wing populist Freedom Party, whose leader has warned of an ‘Islamization’ of Austria, has been invited by incoming Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to join his coalition.

Sebastian Kurz

Sebastian Kurz Photo credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Incoming Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced Tuesday he has invited the leader of the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) to join his coalition.

Kurz’s conservative People’s Party (OVP) had a narrow victory in last week’s election, winning only 31.5% of the votes and 62 out of 181 seats in the parliament. The FPO, led by Heinz-Christian Strache, became the third largest party with 51 seats, making it nearly impossible for Kurz to form a coalition without it.

This achievement comes a year after the Alternative for Germany Party (AfD) became the first far-right nationalist party to enter the German parliament since World War II.

A poster of Heinz-Christian Strache sprayed with a swastika

A poster of Heinz-Christian Strache sprayed with a swastika Photo credit: Sky News/Channel 2 News

The FPO is a vocal opponent of Austria’s current immigration policy and has, on more than one occasion, spoken out against the “Islamization” of the country.

The party’s former leader, Jörg Haider, was often accused of anti-Semitism and Nazi sympathy.