Austria’s unlikely coalition to unveil government programme

The Greens and Sebastian Kurz’s OeVP form coalition govt.

Austria’s conservatives and their Green partners were set to present the government programme of their unprecedented coalition, a plan with right-wing leader Sebastian Kurz’s clear imprimatur that could set a European precedent.

The two parties announced late on Wednesday that they had agreed to govern together after key election gains in September following a corruption scandal that broke apart 33-year-old Mr. Kurz’s ruling coalition with the far right.

Mr. Kurz — who has styled himself as a tough anti-immigration fighter — said his People’s Party (OeVP) and the Greens had “succeeded in uniting the best of both worlds” in protracted negotiations aimed at “protecting the climate and borders”.

‘Daring experiment’

“Historic accord fixed” ran the Kurier daily’s main headline on Thursday, while a column in the left-leaning Standard described the coalition as a “daring experiment” and a “political adventure”.

Papers said the pact bore the conservatives’ stamp, with tabloid Oesterreich billing the OeVP as “powerful as never before”.

It is the Greens’ first entry into the Austrian government at a national level — and that in the unlikely marriage of conservatives and ecologists.

Observers say Germany and others may follow suit as parties seek to cater to voters’ increasingly populist sentiments as well as worries about climate change amid student protests following calls by activist Greta Thunberg .

In Austria’s September polls, the Greens got 13.9% while the OeVP got 37.5% of votes.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 11:19:11 AM |

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