Austria: Center-right People's Party tops snap polls

By Askin Kiyagan

VIENNA (AA) – Former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's center-right Austrian People's Party (OVP) has come in first in Austria's snap parliamentary polls.

The party won a plurality of Sunday's vote with 37.5% and 71 deputies, according to official results announced by the country’s Interior Ministry.

The Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPO) came in second with 21.2%, the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) was third with 16.2% and the Green party was fourth with 13.9%.

It was the lowest vote rate received by the SPO in its history.

The FPO, the former coalition partner of the OVP, lost around 10% of votes compared to previous elections.

This was mainly due to a corruption scandal which had also triggered the snap elections.

While the FPO lost many more votes than polls predicted, the Greens got many more votes than anticipated.

Austrians elected 183 members of parliament Sunday.

The elections will designate Austria's 33rd government with 1,476 parliamentary candidates, including 27 of Turkish origin.

The decision to hold snap polls came after the collapse of a 17-month far-right coalition in May after then-Vice Chancellor and Freedom Party head Heinz Christian Strache stepped down due to a corruption scandal revealed through video footage.

For nearly four months, the country has been ruled by the former president of the Austrian Constitutional Court, Brigitte Bierlein — who was appointed chancellor by President Alexander Van der Bellen — and the interim government she formed with high-level bureaucrats.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz