Love him or hate him, Austria’s polarising right-wing former chancellor Sebastian Kurz is firing up voters on both sides ahead of a snap election on September 29. At a campaign stop in the well-heeled spa town of Baden bei Wien near the capital Vienna, Kurz gave a typically smooth and polished performance, belying the strong feelings he provokes among supporters and opponents alike. A few hundred predominantly older supporters gathered in the small square in front of Baden’s imposing theatre to hear him, many sporting “We’re for Kurz”-branded sunglasses handed out by fresh-faced volunteers from his centre-right People’s Party (OeVP). The cheers that greeted the 33-year-old as he took the stage gave no clue that the election was prompted by a corruption scandal which engulfed his coalition partners, the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), only four months ago. “I’m very attached to Mr Kurz, his government was the best one we had had for a long time,” said 68-year-old pensioner Inge Grzesicki, echoing other supporters in lauding Kurz’s youth and dynamism. Such descriptions could also have been lifted from Kurz’s authorised biography, published earlier this month to widespread derision from reviewers claiming it had a sycophantic tone. – ‘No more immigrants’… Read full this story
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