Austria to hold parliamentary election on Sept. 29, with far-right gaining traction

BERLIN (AP) — Austria’s government, nearing the end of its five-year term, announced Wednesday the Alpine country’s next parliamentary election will be held on Sept. 29.

This comes in the wake of a narrow win by the far-right Freedom Party over Chancellor Karl Nehammer's conservative Austrian People’s Party in last week’s European Parliament election which saw hard-right parties achieving major gains across the 27-nation bloc.

The Freedom Party took 25.4% of the vote on Sunday, taking first place in a nationwide election for the first time. It was followed by the People’s Party with 24.5%.

Polls regarding the coming general election have predicted in recent months a wider gap between the two, with the Freedom Party expected to lead.

Following his party's defeat in the European election, Nehammer acknowledged that there is “great dissatisfaction,” the Austria Press Agency reported. He also vowed his party would convince voters of how seriously it took their concerns over the coming months confronting issues of migration and overregulation.

The country's last national election took place in 2019, after then-chancellor Sebastian Kurz pulled the plug on the governing coalition between his right-wing People’s Party and the far-right Freedom Party. It followed the publication of a video showing Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache appearing to offer lucrative government contracts to a purported Russian investor.

The Associated Press