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Austria Swears In Right-Wing Government


Newly sworn-in Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, left, and new Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache talk during the swearing-in ceremony of the new Austrian government led by a conservative and a nationalist party in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Dec. 18, 2017.

Austria swore in a new coalition government Monday in Vienna.

Sebastian Kurz, of the People's Party (OVP) is the new chancellor and at 31 years old is also the world's youngest leader.

He took the reins of the party earlier this year and told his supporters that "the Austrian population gave us their confidence to bring about a new style of political culture..." Kurz has promised "to reduce illegal migration to zero."

Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the far-right Freedom Party (FPO), who is 48, is vice chancellor.

On Sunday, Strache said on Facebook, "It will no longer happen for migrants who have never worked here a single day or paid anything into the social system to get thousands of euros in welfare!"

The coalition agreement between the two parties was reached on Friday.

The deal makes Austria the only western European country with a far-right group in government.

Police dispatched 1,500 officers around the city Monday to keep thousands of protesters under control. At one protest, demonstrators carried signs that said "Refugees Welcome" and "Nazis Out" and "No Nazi Pigs."

More than a million refugees and other migrants arrived in Europe in 2015.

Austria reportedly opened its doors to more than one percent of those seeking asylum - one of the highest rates in the EU. Both coalition parties have pledged to prevent a repeat of that influx.

Elections in France and the Netherlands this year checked the momentum of right-wing populist parties in Europe. Austria, however, has shown the right-wing movement is still a political force.

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