Sebastian Kurz won reelection as Austria's chancellor. Read this information to know more about it.
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Kurz wins Austria election, to seek governing alliance with partner party

By Antonio Sanchez Solis and Luis Lidon /  Vienna / The leader of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) Sebastian Kurz, as widely expected, won reelection as Austria’s chancellor on Sunday by a margin that allows him to select his governing coalition partner from among several options, but it remains to be seen whether he will repeat his controversial pact with the ultrarightists, make a radical turn toward The Greens or resort to a coalition with the seemingly worn-out Social Democrats.

With 37.2 percent of the votes and 71 seats in Parliament, Kurz came out with an additional 5.6 percent of the votes and nine more lawmakers than in the snap elections called two years ago.

His recent administration, this time in coalition with the ultranationalists of the FPÖ, was brief – just 17 months plagued with assorted scandals among his partners and the rupture of the coalition along with a censure motion that brought down his government.

“In May, we were defeated and the people now once again have elected us,” the conservative 33-year-old leader proclaimed in his first remarks after the release of election results.

Kurz said he felt very impressed with the result. Although all the voter surveys had indicated he would win, the outcome – he admitted – was better than he had expected.

Kurz’s joy is inversely proportional to that of the ultranationalists. With 16 percent of the votes, the right-wing populist party Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) lost 21 of the 51 seats in Parliament that it had, a more precipitous plunge among voters than had been forecast.

The main question now will be whether Kurz will renew his coalition with the FPÖ, despite the latter’s corruption scandal that ended up bringing about the censure motion against the executive, thus bringing down the government.

In addition, every month there was a new xenophobic or racist comment by some member of the FPÖ, not to mention links established between FPÖ lawmakers and ultrarightist or neo-Nazi groups. Many Western secret services limited their cooperation with Austria due to a lack of confidence in its government institutions.

Kurz, however, tolerated everything, putting the coalition’s stability and “good work” first.

Then, in May a video taken with a hidden camera two years before was leaked showing then-head of the FPÖ and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache offering political favors to an alleged Russian businesswoman in exchange for money.

Strache, who is now being investigated for embezzlement, resigned and the coalition government toppled.

He was replaced by Norbert Hofer, who on Sunday acknowledged that the election result was worse than expected and does not bode well for the party’s hopes to once again enter a coalition with Kurz, although he added “We’re preparing to be in the opposition.”

Given the FPÖ history, Kurz may opt not to risk an alliance with the group, turning to The Greens, for instance, a socially progressive and ecologically-minded party, albeit with a set of middle-class voters.

Spurred by a growing concern with climate change, The Greens have gone from practically nowhere, politically, two years ago to garnering 14 percent of the votes and 25 seats in parliament, both of which would be enough to give a Kurz-Greens coalition a majority, although to strike a deal with them, Kurz would have to scale back his harsh policies on immigration, which were a big key to his victory two years ago in coalition with the FPÖ.

He would also have to adopt climate-friendly policies, although these would be difficult for conservative voters to accept, and the leader of The Greens, Werner Kogler, said Sunday he was skeptical about whether an agreement with the ÖVP could be reached and said Kurz would probably make a deal once again with the ultras.

Kurz’s third option would be to reactivate the grand coalition, which had dominated Austrian politics since 1945.

With 21.8 percent of the votes and 41 parliamentary seats, the Social Democrats (SPÖ) emerged from this election with the worst showing in their history and it appears quite unlikely that Kurz would be willing to finalize a pact with them.

Armin Thurnher, the founder and an analyze with the weekly Austrian news magazine Falter, told EFE that “There is a 50/50 possibility that there will be a coalition between the ÖVP and the FPÖ or between the ÖVP and the Greens.” (September 29, 2019, EFE/Practica Español)

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Comprehension

Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas (Read the news and answer the questions)

Congratulations - you have completed Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas (Read the news and answer the questions). You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
Principalmente, en el texto se habla de... (Mainly in the text, it's talked about...)
A
unos escándalos por corrupción de un partido político de Austria.
B
los resultados de las últimas elecciones en Austria.
C
los partidos con los que gobernó en coalición el partido de Kurz.
Question 2
En el texto se dice que... (It's said in the text that...)
A
Kurz no tiene muchas opciones para formar un Gobierno en coalición.
B
Kurz podría gobernar con los ultras, Los Verdes o los socialdemócratas.
C
Kurz no necesitará el apoyo de ningún partido para gobernar.
Question 3
Según el texto... (According to the text...)
A
Kurz ha logrado los mismos resultados que hace dos años.
B
Kurz ha obtenido mejores resultados que hace un par de años.
C
Kurz ha obtenido peores resultados que hace dos años.
Question 4
En el texto se dice que... (It's said in the text that...)
A
los socialdemócratas mejoran notablemente sus resultados.
B
Los Verdes han obtenido menos diputados que en 2017.
C
el partido de los ultranacionalistas estuvo implicado en unos escándalos por corrupción.
Question 5
En el vídeo se dice que... (It's said in the video that...)
A
es la primera vez que Kurz gana unos comicios en Austria.
B
los ultranacionalistas no han perdido muchos escaños.
C
Kurz ha obtenido más de 70 escaños en estos comicios.
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There are 5 questions to complete.

Vocabulary

Congratulations - you have completed . You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
Unas elecciones son 'anticipadas' cuando... (A elections are 'anticipadas' when...)
A
se celebran antes de lo previsto.
B
se celebran más tarde de lo previsto.
C
se celebran en el momento en que está previsto.
Question 2
'Aún' es lo mismo que... ('Aún' is the same thing that...)
A
'en otro momento'.
B
'todavía'.
C
'antes'.
Question 3
En el texto, 'arrollar' significa... (In the text, 'arrollar' means...)
A
literalmente, atropellar a alguien.
B
vencer por poca diferencia a alguien.
C
vencer a un rival con un amplio margen de diferencia.
Question 4
La locución 'sin embargo' se utiliza para... (The expression 'sin embargo' is used to...)
A
expresar contrariedad u oposición.
B
afirmar igualdad entre dos partes.
C
expresar posibilidad.
Question 5
Cuando se dice 'el entonces líder' se refiere al... (When it's said 'el entonces líder', it refers to...)
A
que era líder en ese momento.
B
actual líder.
C
que nunca llegó a ser líder.
Question 6
El artículo determinado para 'coalición' es: (The definite article for 'coalición' is:)
A
el
B
lo
C
la
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