This Man Is About to Become the World's Youngest Leader

Sebastian Kurz, 31, is set to represent the millennial generation in Austria
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 16, 2017 12:27 AM CDT
Austria Is About to Get the World's Youngest Leader
Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, head of the Austrian People's Party, arrives at the election party in Vienna, Austria, on Sunday after the closing of polling stations for the Austrian national elections.   (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

At age 31, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz is poised to become the first millennial to lead a European country following his party's victory in a national election Sunday. While no party won a majority, the telegenic Kurz is most likely to be sworn in as Austria's next chancellor—and the world's youngest leader—after the tough coalition government negotiations that lie ahead. Near-final results from Sunday's balloting put his People's Party comfortably in first place, with 31.4% of the vote, the AP reports. The right-wing Freedom Party came in second with 27.4%. The center-left Social Democratic Party of Austria, which now governs in coalition with the People's Party, got 26.7%.

Becoming head of government would be the next leap in a political career that started eight years ago when Kurz, then studying law, was elected chairman of his party's youth branch. In 2013, he became Europe's youngest-ever foreign minister and became party leader in May of this year, the BBC reports. When a wave of migrants and refugees became a continent-wide concern in 2015, Kurz called for tougher external border controls, better integration, and stringent control of "political Islam" funded from abroad. He also organized the shutdown of the popular overland route through the West Balkans many newcomers were using to reach the EU's prosperous heartland.

(More Austria stories.)

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