Greens in Austria enter government for first time

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The conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), led by Sebastian Kurz, and the Greens reached a deal to form a coalition government, the two parties announced late Wednesday.

The “experiment” will mark the first time the left-wing environmentalist Green party has been in government. The new coalition of widely disparate parties is likely to be significantly different from the previous government, which took a hard line on immigration.

Greens leader Werner Kogler said the two parties had managed to “build bridges” to form a government for “the future of Austria.”

The Greens captured 13.9%, a record high for the environmentalists, as the environment and climate change replaced immigration as a top issue for voters.

According to Austrian media, the Greens will get a super Environment Ministry that also composes infrastructure, traffic, energy and technology. They will also control the Justice Ministry and Social Affairs Ministry. Greens chief Werner Kogler will become vice-chancellor. A Green party congress must approve the deal, but they are expected to do so on Saturday.

The ÖVP will hold all the other ministries, including those of Defense, Interior and Finance. Kurz will remain chancellor, making him the world’s youngest leader.

A coalition between the 33-year-old Kurz’s ÖVP and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) collapsed in May after 17 months amid a corruption scandal involving then-leader of the FPÖ and vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache.

Read more via DW

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