New Austrian leader won't rule out ties to far-right

Reuters News
|
Posted: May 17, 2016 9:51 AM

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria's designated chancellor, Christian Kern, said his Social Democrats (SPO) would prefer to keep governing with the conservatives and would not sell their soul just to remain in power but he did not rule out ties with the far-right Freedom Party.

"Let's cross that river when we come to it," he told his first news conference on Tuesday since being named chancellor.

"My plan is not to lead the SPO into opposition, the opposite is true, but at the end of the day we need an identity and for us it is absolutely unimaginable to work with parties who incite against people and minorities," he said.

The 50-year-old head of Austria's state railway is set to be sworn as is chancellor later on Tuesday after the SPO united behind him to replace Werner Faymann.

Faymann stepped down last week after the SPO's humiliating showing in presidential elections.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Louise Ireland)