Austrian 'whizz-kid' tapped to form government

VIENNA: Austria's president on Friday tasked election-winner Sebastian Kurz with forming a government, putting the 31-year-old conservative on course to become the world's youngest leader.

Kurz, nicknamed "wunderwuzzi" ("whizz-kid"), is now expected to enter coalition talks with the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), potentially giving the European Union a fresh headache.

Kurz's People's Party (OeVP) came first in Sunday's election with 31.5% followed by the centre-left Social Democrats on 26.9%, final results showed late Thursday.

The populist Freedom Party, highly critical of the EU, came a close third with 26.0%, just short of its 1999 record under former chief Joerg Haider of 26.9%.

Kurz said Friday after being given a mandate by President Alexander Van der Bellen that he will now "sound out" all the other parties and then enter coalition negotiations.

"I want a new political culture, a new political style," he said. "I want a government that has the courage and the determination to bring about real change in Austria". — AFP