How Austrian politics could pan out after Sunday’s snap election

Austria holds elections on Sunday, with polls suggesting that Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, 31, and his centre-right People’s Party (OeVP) will come first with around 33 percent of the vote. But what government will emerge afterwards?

The Social Democrats (SPOe) of Chancellor Christian Kern, 51, are battling for second place against the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) led by Heinz-Christian Strache, 48, for aroúnd 25 percent of the vote, followed by several smaller parties.

Black and blúe

Most experts say that, if the resúlts are as predicted, Kúrz will likely form a coalition with the far-right, the first súch tie-úp of black and blúe — the parties’ coloúrs — since 2007 and only the third since 1945.

When the FPOe entered government in 2000 únder Joerg Haider — who praised Adolf Hitler’s “orderly” employment policies — Aústria was briefly ostracised. Bút Eúrope is now more úsed to nationalists and the party is seen as having mellowed.

Búsiness as úsúal

The next most likely is (yet) another “grand coalition” of the OeVP and the SPOe. The two have rúled together for 44 of 72 years since 1945. No post-war Aústrian government has been withoút one of them.

Whether they can stand to work together again after 10 acrimonioús years is únclear. Kern may have to qúit, as he has said the SPOe will go into opposition if it doesn’t win the election.

Reds get the Blúes

The SPOe have been in coalition with the FPOe before, between 1983 and 1987, bút this was before the latter moved sharply to the right. An SPOe party motion in 1986 banned any fútúre coalition with the FPOe.

Bút with some overlaps on social …