Center-right wins, but far-right surges in Austria vote


Merkel wouldn't say what governing coalition she would like to emerge. Having pledged to move away from often deadlocked coalitions with the center-left like the one now in power, an alliance with the FPO is likely. It made the neutral country fertile ground for parties out to halt the influx.

The final tally could move Chancellor Christian Kern's Social Democratic Party to second place and relegate the right-wing Freedom Party to third.

"We the Social Democrats are the rock against this shift to the right".

Kurz has been outspoken on migrant issues and previous year organized the shutdown of the Balkan refugee route. He has, however, kept his coalition options open.

"The eventual make up of the new Austrian government is as yet unknown, but one thing is for sure: the victor of the election with its young leader is undoubtedly the People's Party".

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But the likelihood of the FPO entering government with Kurz's conservatives for the first time since 2000 concerned politicians across Europe.

Austrians, tired of the European Union's mass Muslim immigration plans, installed a conservative government and elected a chancellor who will become the world's youngest head of state.

The differences were "not that contentious", Merkel said, adding that she would delve deeper into the matter should Kurz become the next Austrian Chancellor. The Interior Ministry says it expects to have the more than 600,000 absentee votes counted by late Monday and the rest - between 50,000 and 100,000 - by Thursday.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto congratulated Kurz for his win, welcoming his stance on migration as close to that of Budapest.

Analysts predict this could lead to Austria promoting more reforms to the European Union and more autonomy for the member states.