Conservative Kurz, 31, on track to be Austrian leader


ÖVP, which was branded during the campaign as Kurz's personal "movement", is expected to win about 30 percent of the votes, making it the largest party in the country.

Austrian Foreign Minister and leader of the conservative Austrian People's Party (OeVP) Sebastian Kurz and his girlfriend Susanne Thier speak to media as they leave after casting their ballots in Austrian parliamentary elections on October 15.

Foreign Minister Kurz propelled his party to the top of opinion polls when he became leader in May, dislodging the far-right FPO that had led for a year.

Sunday's legislative election has been seen as another important test for the right-wing wave amid a migration crisis in Europe after the German elections.

However, the European Jewish Congress (EJC) expressed its "profound concern" over the significant showing of the Freedom Party, which according to the exit polls gained 29 percent of the vote.

Short of a majority, Mr Kurz's party could seek an alliance with the anti-immigration Freedom Party. The current head of government and leader of the Social democratic party of Austria (SDHP) Christian Kern predict second place.

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In 2016, Kurz spearheaded a border crackdown across the Balkans created to stem the flow of migrants, and this year he proposed plans to seal off the Mediterranean route to Europe.

The FPO has accused Mr Kurz of copying its ideas and FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache called him an "impersonator".

Immigration has dominated the campaign. His opponents say he is merely a new face on a party in power in various coalitions for 30 years.

"We strongly urge Mr. Kurz to form a coalition of centrist parties and not be beholden to a party of the far-right in his new coalition government", EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor said.

The country now is governed by a Social Democratic-People's Party coalition.

"But the question is whether there is any getting around Strache after this election".