Published: Fri, January 03, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Resurgent Austrian Greens in coalition deal with centre-right party

Resurgent Austrian Greens in coalition deal with centre-right party

That reflects their scores in the September 29 parliamentary election, which Kurz's People's Party (OVP) won with 37.5% while the Greens came fourth with 13.9% of the vote.

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

Mr Kurz - nicknamed "Wunderkind" by his supporters - said: 'We succeeded in uniting the best of both worlds.

The agreement - which requires approval at a party congress of the Greens taking place Saturday - combines pledges of environmental action and of government transparency with moves to cut Austrians' tax burdens and with the tough talk on migration that Kurz has made a hallmark of his People's Party.

Kurz's People's Party (OeVP) won with 37.5% of the vote while the Greens came in fourth with 13.9%.

The OeVP was the uncontested victor of September elections, handing Kurz the chancellorship again, but whether his party - which made a hard-right turn under him, cracking down on illegal immigration - could come to an agreement with the far more liberal Greens remained in question.

An OeVP official confirmed the same to AFP.

"2020 as a political year of change" ran the main online headline of the Kurier daily earlier.

For Kogler, this was the best deal possible since his party did not have several potential coalition partners as Kurz did.

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"From his (Kurz's) perspective, it's a huge stretch and it's also a danger that over time he might lose some of the voters he gained from the Freedom Party", analyst Thomas Hofer said. Sweden, Finland, Lithuania and Luxemburg already have Greens in government.

Mr Hofer said other European countries, such as Germany, could also see Conservative-Green party coalitions in the future.

"Kurz is setting a certain trend maybe ahead of time, and this is certainly something also on the global stage that he would be able to sell", he said.

Kurz and his Greens counterpart will issue statements later in the evening. But his party did not win enough seats to govern the country on its own, and with their support surging - they won almost 14 percent of the vote - the Greens became an appealing, if unlikely, alternative.

Werner Kogler, the Greens' leader, said: "It wasn't easy, but that's also not what we were elected for".

"It's a historical chance for them", Hofer said.

As part of the deal, Werner Kogler's Green's will control just four of 15 ministries - environment, transport, infrastructure and energy.

Kurz's party will hold onto the rest of the ministries, including the interior, defense and and finance ministries.

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