Austria. During the year, Austria got Europe's youngest
head of government in 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, when his
People's Party (ÖVP) won the new election in October. The
conservative and Christian democratic ÖVP received 31.6% of
the vote, the Social Democratic SPÖ 26.9% and the right-wing
populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) 26%. According to
Countryaah.com, the Greens ended up out of
Parliament with just 3.9% of the vote.
It was in May that the newly elected leader of the ÖVP,
as well as the country's foreign minister, Sebastian Kurz
agreed with the Chancellor of the Interior and the SPÖ
leader Christian Kern to announce new elections this fall.
This since the ÖVP-SPÖ coalition has burst.
After the election, the newly elected Chancellor Kurz
looked far to the right and, at the end of October, invited
anti-xenophobic FPÖ and its leader Hans-Christian Strache to
talks about a possible government coalition. The Chancellor
promised that a functioning government would be in place
within two months. In December, Sebastian Kurz and his
conservative ÖVP then formed a coalition government together
with the right-wing populists FPÖ. Both parties joined,
among other things. to elections for a tighter migration
policy and less EU influence. The new government got several
FPÖ representatives on important posts: Herbert Kickl became
Minister of the Interior, Mario Kunasek Minister of Defense
and Karin Kneissl Foreign Minister and party leader
Heinz-Christian Strache who became Vice Chancellor.
In June, the trial started against eleven men charged
with murder, torture and smuggling. They are responsible for
the tragic incident in August 2015 when 71 refugees were
found dead in an abandoned truck on a motorway in Austria
near the Hungary border. The trial is taking place in
Hungary, where four of the men are charged with murder,
torture and smuggling, the other seven for torture and
There has been a ban on a comprehensive veil in Austria
since 1 October. It got a man who participated in an
advertising campaign dressed up for shark experience. He was
fined by the police a week after the ban was introduced,
after refusing to remove the shark mask with the motivation
"I just do my job".