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AS IT HAPPENED: 'Whizz-kid' Kurz's ÖVP clearly wins Austrian election, as voters turn right

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AS IT HAPPENED: 'Whizz-kid' Kurz's ÖVP clearly wins Austrian election, as voters turn right
Sebastian Kurz. Photo: AFP
17:00 CEST+02:00
Austria voted in a snap election on Sunday. Look back through The Local's blow-by-blow account here.
  • The 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz toppled the last government in May when he pulled his conservative ÖVP out of a coalition with the centre-left SPÖ
  • The provisional final result has Kurz as the clear winner, with his ÖVP gaining 31.4 percent of the vote.
  • Kurz is believed to prefer a coalition with the far-right FPÖ, but he said on Sunday evening that he would consider all options.
  • The SPÖ were the largest party in the old parliament, holding 52 seats. But unpopular refugee policies are set to see them slip to second or even third place this time around.
  • The far-right FPÖ increased their vote share by over 5 percent and could come second, depending on how the postal vote results pan out. The party, set up by former Nazis after the war, are on course for their best ever result.

Sebastian Kurz: Europe's youngest leader in waiting

How Austria's far-right leader Strache brought the Freedom Party back from the brink

How Austrian politics could pan out after Sunday's snap election

10.05pm - Kurz says he will talk to "all parties" about building a coalition

Kurz said that all the results first needed to be counted to see which of the other parties had come second. Then he would talk to all the parties in the parliament. He is rumoured to prefer a coalition with the far right.

9.27 pm - Provisional final count gives victory to Kurz

All of the ballots handed in today have now been counted. Postal votes are still to be taken into consideration, with the final result to be announced once these have been counted on Thursday.

But the provisional final count gives Sebastian Kurz's ÖVP a clear win, with 31.4 percent of the vote. The far-right FPÖ are in second on 27.4 percent, the SPÖ are third on 26.8 percent, while the Greens look like they have been thrown out of the parliament altogether, with just 3.3 percent of the vote.

It should be noted that postal voting is expected to make one significant change, pushing the SPÖ above the FPÖ.

9.18pm - European far-right parties congratulate FPÖ

Far-right movements from around Europe have been congratulating the FPÖ on their election result. Current exit polling shows that they increased their vote share by around 5.5 percent.

"That's a great success for the FPÖ, even if we hoped that they would become the strongest party," said Georg Pazderski, a senior member of the AfD in Germany.

Marine Le Pen said it was a victory for "liberty and identity" in Europe.

8.36pm - Turnout considerably higher than in 2013

Austria certainly sets an example on making use of your vote. Some 79.3 percent of the electorate turned out for the election, up on the 74.9 percent turnout last time around.

8.28pm - Coalition possibilities limited

Sebastian Kurz has reportedly been in secret talks with the far-right FPÖ for days about a possible coalition deal. And the exit polls indicate that this "black-blue" coalition would comfortably have a working majority. The other possibility would be for Kurz to build a coalition with the centre-left SPÖ as junior partner, but this is seen as less likely after Kurz collapsed a government of the two parties in May.

Theoretically the SPÖ could also build a coalition with the FPÖ, but this is a possibility that only exists in theory. The SPÖ have written a statement, declaring they will not rule with the far right. 

8.12pm - Austrian President declares Kurz "clear winner"

Austria's President Alexander Van der Bellen has said  he will give ÖVP leader Sebastian Kurz the job of building the next government, if the current exit poll figures are confirmed in the final count.

Van der Bellen said Kurz was "the clear winner."

8.00pm - 5th exit poll shows gap narrowing between SPÖ and far right

The 5th exit poll, published shortly after 7pm, shows that the gap between the centre-left SPÖ and the far-right FPÖ in the race for second is narrowing. The SPÖ are still 0.9 percent ahead, with 86.2 percent of the vote counted.

5th exit poll results: ÖVP - 31.6 percent, SPÖ 26.9 percent, FPÖ - 26.0 percent, Greens - 3.9 percent, Neos - 5.1 percent, Pilz - 4.3 percent

7.20 pm - Vienna stayed loyal to centre-left

Results from Vienna showed that the centre-left SPÖ remained the biggest party there. They won 34.9 percent of votes in the capital, with the ÖVP trailing behind on 21.6 percent.

7.05 pm - 'A strong mandate to change the country'

Sebastian Kruz is also being interviewed on broadcaster ORF.

"This result is a strong mandate for us to change this country," he said before thanking people who voted for him. He added that he would treat the responsibility "with great humility."

6.55pm - 'we made mistakes'

Chancellor Christina Kern has spoken on broadcaster ORF about his election loss.

"We made mistakes and I can't exempt myself from that. But we've also seen that we have populist right-wing themes which have been made present by political parties and the media in an unprecedented way," Kern said.

"Some people have been asking why I didn't play for the tabloids. But I say I'd do it in just the same way again, even if it did cost me votes."

6.30 pm - Exit polls leaving the smaller parties on the edge of their seats.

The fourth exit poll has come out and with each exit poll the picture keeps getting better for Sebastian Kurz. His party has now crept up to 31.7 percent.

Green party members meanwhile, will be fearing for their futures. The poll suggests they will miss the 4 percent cut off, but only by 0.2 percent. And with three quarters of votes counted, things could still change. The Pilz party, which was started by former Green politician Peter Pilz is also hovering dangerously close to the 4 percent cut off.

4th exit poll: ÖVP - 31.7 percent, SPÖ - 27 percent, FPÖ - 25.9 percent, Greens - 3.8 percent, Neos - 5.1 percent, Pilz - 4.3 percent.

6.09pm - Latest exit poll drops political bomb

An exit poll published at 6pm has shaken everything up. The latest figures suggest that the SPÖ will finish in second place, and that they have in fact increased their vote share. Meanwhile the exit poll predicts that the Green Party won't get the four percent necessary to make it into parliament, that would be a major shock given the growing influence of the environmentalists in recent elections.

The polls also gives Kurz's  ÖVP a bigger share of the vote than previous exit polls.

Roughly 52 percent of votes have been counted, with the spods who calculate these things saying there is still a 2.2 percent margin of error.

3rd exit poll results: ÖVP - 31.5 percent, SPÖ - 27.1 percent, FPÖ - 25.9 percent, Greens - 3.9 percent, Neos - 5.1 percent, Pilz - 4.4 percent.

6.02pm - far-right leader thanks supporters, as exit polls show his party in second

With his arm wrapped around his pet dog, far-right leader Hans-Christian Strache has published a picture of himself looking pretty pleased. 

"Thank you so much for your belief and support," he wrote. "We want an honest change and an the implementation of policies which benefit the people of Austria. Enough of red-black!"

Exit polls suggest Strache's FPÖ will come second with close to 27 percent of the vote.

5.51pm - 'One of the biggest political upheaval's in Austrian history'

Politically scientist Peter Filzmaier was presumably only referring to post-war history when he described the results as "one of the biggest political upheaval's in Austrian history".

It could turn out to be the first time that two right-wing parties have come first and second in the voting.

One less than delighted voter wrote on Twitter that "57 percent of Austria has voted for the radical right," accompanying his comment with a video that doesn't make for appetizing watching.

5.45pm - Kurz thanks supporters on social media 

5.42pm - Green party politician calls result 'catastrophe'

"The result is a catastrophe. It is a defeat for the real questions of the future, the existential questions," said Helga Krismer, spokeswoman for the Green party in Lower Austria.

5.30pm - Second exit polls shores up first prediction

A further exit poll has been published, which should be more accurate as it takes more counted votes into account. Its results are almost identical to those of the first exit poll.

ÖVP - 30.5 percent, FPÖ - 26.8 percent, SPÖ - 26.2 percent, Greens - 4.7 percent, Neos - 5.3 percent, Pilz - 4.3 percent.

One thing that both exit polls show: far fewer voters went for really small parties. The share of votes for "other" has dropped by roughly 9 percent in comparison with 2013.

5.23pm - Six parties have made it into the Nationalrat, according to exit poll

Austria has a 4 percent barrier for entry into the national parliament. That means that six parties seem to have made it into the Nationalrat, with the Greens, Neos and Pilz set to win seats alongside the three bigger parties.

5.16pm -  Big gains for right-wing parties, if exit poll is accurate

The exit polls are telling us one thing loud and clear already - the right wing parties have made big gains at the cost of centre-left parties.

Both the ÖVP and the FPÖ have gained over 6 percent in comparison with the last election in 2013, so that is a combined gain for the right of 12.5 percent. While the SPÖ have lost 0.5 percent of their vote share, the Greens have taken a big hit, they dropped 7.5 percent.  

5.10pm - Kurz's ÖVP wins election according to first exit poll

According to the SORA exit poll, the ÖVP will be the biggest party in the next parliament with 30.2 percent of the vote. The centre left SPÖ and the far-right FPÖ are neck and neck on 26 percent.

The results: ÖVP - 30.2 percent, FPÖ - 26.8 percent, SPÖ - 26.3 percent, Neos - 5.3 percent, Green party - 4.9 percent, Liste Pilz - 4.3 percent.

5.01pm - Refugees have been central campaigning topic

Much like in Germany last month, the refugee crisis has been the central theme of the election, broadcaster Phoenix reports. Sebastian Kurz rarely took longer than a minute to mention refugees or political Islam in the campaign.

4.51pm - Should we believe the polls?

Germany's Bild Zeitung is claiming that one million of the 6.4 million eligible voters have not made up their minds. With turnout predicted to be high, Bild speculates that the result could be less of a foregone conclusion than people are assuming.

In around 10 minutes we should find out!

4.36pm - hackers take down ÖVP website

Anyone wanting to get a bit of last minute info on what the ÖVP stand for is out of luck. Hackers have taken down the site with a so-called DDoS attack.

4.28pm - Mayor of Vienna concedes he is 'not a prophet, just a little mayor'

Here's some Austrian charm for you. Mayor Michael Häupl of Vienna has just told a journalist who wanted a prediction on the result: "Prophet bin i kaner - nur a klaner Bürgemeister" which translates into normal German as "Prophet bin ich keiner, nur ein kleiner Bürgermeister." Adorable.

4.21 pm - Austrians keen on getting home before their dinner gets cold

Sebastian Kurz released a video for the election campaign which gave Austrians literally no insights into his political vision, but did tell them that he likes going for a cycle with his dad on the weekends, and that when he gets home his mum has some wholesome grub waiting for them on the table.

If the briskness with which the polling stations close is anything to go by, it seems like most Austrians like to get their voting done before the dinner gets cold, too. Some polling stations in the west of the country closed at 1pm - presumably so the folk there could fit in a Spaziergang in the Alps before they get home for their Germknödel.

4.16pm - official results only published on October 31st

While there will be some pretty accurate exit polls coming out this evening, you will have to wait until the end of the month for the official result. And no, we're not keeping up the live blog till then.

The new Nationalrat (parliament) will meet on November 9th for first time.

4.09pm - results to be announced shortly after 5pm

The first Hochrechnung of the results will be announced just minutes after polls close at 5pm. While this estimate tends to be relatively accurate, it does not include postal votes. More accurate exit polls will then be published throughout the evening.

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