He closed the Balkan route but hasn’t disowned the EU. His fresh take on populism has seduced Austrians. What politics will the world’s youngest leader opt for?
The political ascent of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz was unpredictable, rapid, triumphant and sealed with electoral success on 15 October. Before he took the reins, the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) was discredited and in the midst of a crisis: its candidate, Andreas Kohl, garnered just 11% of the vote in the first round of the presidential elections in 2016, a catastrophic result. Kohl was more than 20 points behind Norbert Hofer, the candidate for the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), the right-wing force accused of harbouring xenophobic and even neo-Nazi tendencies.