Austria coalition survives far-right gains: projections

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 29, 2013 11:05 AM

VIENNA (Reuters) - The partners in Austria's pro-Europe, centrist coalition appear to have won enough votes to form a new government, staving off a strong challenge from the euroskeptic right wing, initial projections showed on Sunday.

Chancellor Werner Faymann's Social Democrats (SPO) - who had campaigned on a platform of defending jobs and pensions and redistributing wealth - were poised to get 26.7 percent of the parliamentary vote, according to ARGE Wahlen projections reported by the Austria Press Agency.

These were in line with Austrian television projections.

The conservative People's Party (OVP) was set to get 23.6 percent of the vote, giving the two parties that have dominated post-war politics a combined - albeit smaller - majority for the next five-year term in the 183-seat lower house.

The anti-immigration Freedom Party, which had called to end taxpayer-funded bailouts of struggling euro zone countries, boosted its share of the vote to 21.9 percent, according to the projections based on around 35 percent of votes counted.

Preliminary results are due around 1730 GMT but absentee ballots, distributed this year to more than 10 percent of the nearly 6.4 million Austrians eligible to vote, will be tallied only by Monday.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan, Editing by Michael Shields)