Greens likely to be in Austria's next coalition government

Greens likely to be in Austria's next coalition government
In this Monday, Nov. 11, 2019 file photo, Sebastian Kurz head of the Austrian People's Party, OEVP, speaks to journalists during a press conference about the beginning of the coalition negotiations with the Austrian Greens in Vienna, Austria. Austrian People's Party, OEVP and the environmentalist Greens appear to be closing in on a coalition deal that would return ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to power and end the reign of a non-partisan interim government. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak, file)

BERLIN (AP) — Austria’s main center-right party and the environmentalist Greens are likely to announce a coalition deal Wednesday night that would return ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to power.

The 33-year-old Kurz’s People’s Party embarked on negotiations with the Greens in mid-November, weeks after it emerged as by far the biggest party from an election. In that vote in September, the Greens, who haven’t previously been part of a federal government in Austria, saw their support soar and returned to parliament after a two-year absence.

The two parties have a combined 97 seats in Austria’s 183-seat parliament. Kurz’s return to power would see him take back the title of the world’s youngest sitting head of government from new Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who is 34.

Assuming the coalition talks are successful, the new Austrian government is likely to be significantly different from Kurz’s previous alliance with the far-right Freedom Party.

Kurz led a coalition with the Freedom Party for 17 months until May, when a video showing then-Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache offering favors to a purported Russian investor prompted Kurz to pull the plug.

Parliament then ousted Kurz in a no-confidence vote. Austria has since been run by a non-partisan interim government under Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein.