Podcast: Who is the 31-year-old set to lead Austria?

This week’s World View looks at the rise of Sebastian Kurz and the latest Catalonia crisis

Conservative leader of People's Party (OVP) Sebastian Kurz thanked supporters as early projections showed his centre-right party had won the most votes in Austria, with about 31 percent. Video: Reuters

 

World View is a weekly foreign affairs podcast from The Irish Times. Subscribe on Android, on Apple Podcasts, on Stitcher or on Soundcloud.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s reign as Europe’s youngest leader is not going to last much longer. That honour will soon go to Sebastian Kurz, the 31-year-old leader of Austria’s centre-right People’s Party, which won the most seats in the recent Austrian general election.

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Who is Kurz, and how has he risen to so high an office at such a young age? On this week’s World View podcast we talk to Eric Frey of Austrian daily broadsheet Der Standard, who says Kurz is “an amazing political talent” who has taken advantage of a perceived immigration crisis to steal seats from both the centre-left and the far-right.

Also on the podcast, we talk to Guy Hedgecoe in Madrid about renewed tension in Catalonia following the arrest of leaders of the independence movement. With neither side likely to back down, Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy may be about to apply a never-before-used law to strip powers from the autonomous region.