Sebastian Kurz (L), leader of the People's Party, and Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Freedom Party, attend a press conference in Vienna, capital of Austria, Dec. 16, 2017. (Xinhua/Pan Xu)
VIENNA, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Austria's new coalition government was sworn in by President Alexander Van der Bellen at the presidential residence of Hofburg Palace on Monday, amidst protests concerning its right-wing leanings.
The leader of the conservative People's Party (OVP), the 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, is now chancellor of the country, and the youngest leader in Europe.
Coalition partner, the far-right Freedom Party (FPO), has seen a return to power, following protracted negotiations with the OVP after the Oct. 15 election. Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache is new vice-chancellor.
In an address to mark the occasion, Van der Bellen said the coalition negotiations had been conducted with mutual respect.
He noted the importance of basic and human rights for the government going forward, along with consideration for minorities and those less well-off in society, as well as a clear recognition of Austria as part of the European Union.
Many protest groups had assembled at the Heldenplatz public space just in front of the Hofburg. Police estimated the number at around 6,000.
They denounced the right-wing nature of the coalition, waving placards with slogans such as "no Nazi pigs", and "death to fascism".
Van der Bellen later acknowledged differing points of view on the new government, ranging from positive or indifferent, to negative. In a democracy these views are permitted to exist, he said.