Austria expected to elect youngest European Union leader in snap election

Migration debate dominates Austrian election

But all signs indicate that Austrians, fed up with a record influx of asylum seekers, want to swop the gridlocked centrist rule for a more hardline government for the first time in a decade.

The leader of the right-leaning People's Party has declared victory in the Austrian national election. Kurz has taken a hard line, calling for limits on the number of refugees entering Europe and benefits cuts for European Union migrants living in Austria.

While Europe's centrist governments could view a rightward shift with some concern, architect Bernhard Egelmuller didn't think there would be any major negative global fallout if the Freedom Party does join the next Austrian government.

The eurosceptic Freedom Party is battling for second place with the beleaguered Social Democrats of incumbent Chancellor Christian Kern.

Sunday's legislative election has been seen as another important test for the right-wing wave amid a migration crisis in Europe after the German elections.

The projections had the People's Party getting 31.4% of the vote, a gain of more than seven percentage points from the 2013 election.

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An Austrian electoral official carries a portable ballot box.

But Austrian media reported Sunday that both parties were already involved in behind-the-scene talks, with the People's Party putting a "generous offer" on the table.

The Social Democrats, which campaigned on the need for social equality, was close behind at 26.2%.

Austria was governed by a coalition led by Chancellor Kern's SPO and Kurz's OVP, but that partnership collapsed in May, prompting a snap vote. An alliance with the FPO is the most likely option, although Kurz has been careful to keep his options wide open. At the age of 27, he became Austria's foreign minister and was praised for reducing the number of migrants who entered the country from the Balkans.

Experts say a right-wing government could turn Austria into a tricky partner for the EU.

"The Freedom Party as a government partner will not make a good impression in Europe (and) Kurz is aware of that", commented Der Standard newspaper in its weekend edition.

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