Austria's Sebastian Kurz agrees to form coalition with Greens

Leader of Austria's Conservatives agrees to form a coalition government with the Greens after almost three months of negotiations.

Ben Ariel ,

Sebastian Kurz
Sebastian Kurz

Austria's Conservatives, led by Sebastian Kurz, on Wednesday agreed to form a coalition government with the Greens after a final round of talks capping almost three months of negotiations, AFP reports.

It will mark the first time the Green party has joined the coalition, after Kurz's alliance with the far-right collapsed in a corruption scandal and triggered elections in September.

Kurz's People's Party (OeVP) and the Greens made gains in the September election, bringing them together in unlikely negotiations given the 33-year-old's image as a hardliner on immigration.

"The OeVP and Greens have agreed on a government program together," a Greens representative with knowledge of the negotiations, who declined to be named, told AFP. An OeVP official confirmed the same.

Despite progress to bridge the significant gaps, observers said the new government would face challenges after Kurz's previous rule with the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) saw a raft of anti-immigration measures passed, sharply dividing Austrians.

Both the OeVP and the Greens will be hard-pressed to show they have not compromised too much on their key principals and campaign promises when they present the joint government program, which is expected Thursday.

Kurz has expressed support for Israel in the past and has spoken out against Iran’s leaders who have called for Israel’s destruction.

Kurz has also pledged to make "combating anti-Semitism in all its forms" a top priority. Last year, he condemned the rocket attacks from Gaza onto Israeli territory and stressed his country’s commitment to Israel.