Austria's Kurz Seeks To Be Youngest Chancellor

To call Sebastian Kurz ambitious would be an understatement akin to regarding a hurricane as a light drizzle. In 2013, he managed to become the youngest foreign minister in the world at the age of only 27. And earlier this year, he maneuvered to become chief of one of Austria's strongest political parties, the conservative Austrian People's Party (ÖVP). The ÖVP, which rules in coalition with the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPÖ), promptly called snap elections - to be held a year early, in October 2017. But this time, Austrians who support Kurz will not be voting for the ÖVP but for the "List Sebastian Kurz," a series of ÖVP-backed candidates led by the foreign minister.

Kurz is aiming not only to become the youngest chancellor in the history of the republic, but to steer his country toward a more conservative migration policy, stop radical Islamist terrorism, "break apart the old system" of politics and shift his nation into a more powerful position in Europe.

In this, as far as his personal profile is concerned, he has already achieved a degree of success. Indeed, he is internationally the most recognizable face in Austrian politics - much more so than Chancellor Christian Kern. There was Kurz, smiling and shaking hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during the early stages of nuclear negotiations in 2014, and his statements in the headlines throughout much of 2015, calling for more effective border control along the EU's external frontier during the migrant crisis.


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