Austria's Kurz commences coalition discussions with other party leaders

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-09 21:03:59|Editor: xuxin
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VIENNA, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- Austria's conservative People's Party leader Sebastian Kurz met Tuesday with the heads of the two other major parties on the formation of a coalition government.

Kurz has held talks with other party leaders after his party fell short of the majority necessary to form a government following the Sept. 29 snap election.

He first met with Social Democratic Party Leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner, and both said the conversation was amicable though neither leader detailed the contents.

The two parties have often formed a so-called "grand coalition" in post-war Austria.

Kurz later met with the leader of the Freedom Party, Norbert Hofer. The two parties had formed a coalition government following the 2017 elections, though the corruption scandal known as the "Ibiza affair" brought the government down in May, forcing both parties out of power, and replacing them with a caretaker cabinet in the interim.

While Kurz's party took 37.5 percent of the vote along with the mandate to form the next government in the recent election, Hofer's Freedom Party saw its vote drop nearly 10 percent down to 16.2 percent.

Party officials had called this a sign that they are not in a position to be part of the next coalition, something Hofer affirmed had not changed, according to a Krone newspaper report.

The Freedom Party is set to become an opposition party, he said, and only a drastic set of circumstances such as an inability of the People's Party to form a coalition with the Social Democrats or Greens would prompt a change of stance, he added.

In light of media speculation that a coalition with the Greens is most likely, Hofer said he is unsure, as there are many differences, adding that he thinks coalition negotiations will still take a much longer period of time.

Kurz is expected to meet with two more leaders on Wednesday, first with NEOS head Beate Meinl-Reisinger, and later with Greens leader Werner Kogler.

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