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 Europe’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 right-wing Freedom Party came in second with 27.4%. The centre-left Social Democratic Party of Austria, which now governs in coalition with 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.
Smart and articulate, he eventually caught the eye of People’s Party elders. He was appointed state secretary for integration, overseeing government efforts to make immigrants into Austrians, in 2011.