Yesterday, recently elected Austrian Chanellor Sebastian Kurz has announced that he has succeeded in making a coalition with the controversial far-right Freedom Party.

Kurz and Strache

Kurz and Strache Photo credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Approximately two months after Sebastian Kurz of the conservative People’s Party (OVP) was elected as the new Austrian Chancellor at the age of 31, yesterday (Friday), Kurz announced that he has managed to form a coalition with the controversial far-right Freedom Party (FPO).

The FPO, which is a vocal opponent of Austria’s current immigration policy, won 26.7% of the votes in the last elections. Austria is home to over half a million Muslim immigrants. The party’s former leader, Jörg Haider, was often accused of anti-Semitism and Nazi sympathy.

FPO supporters

FPO supporters Photo credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Since 2008, the FPO has grown more and more powerful, as it continues to position itself as a party that is moving closer and closer to the center, thus attracting new voters. Today, the party is led by Heinz-Christian Strache, who has, on more than one occasion, spoken out against the “Islamization” of the country. Strache is expected to become a senior-level minister in the new coalition.