Election posters in Vienna, 12 Oct 17

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Rival slogans: OeVP says “Now or by no means!”; SPOe says “Change with accountability”

Austrian occasion leaders will conflict in a last TV debate on Thursday night time, with conservative hardliners on immigration tipped to win an election on Sunday.

The highlight can be on International Minister Sebastian Kurz, simply 31 years previous, whose Individuals’s Get together (OeVP) has a robust lead in opinion polls.

The nationalist Freedom Get together (FPOe) and centre-left Social Democrats (SPOe) are neck-and-neck behind it, polls say.

Mr Kurz argued for a ban on full Muslim veils and cuts in migrants’ advantages.

The ban on full-face veils – burkas and niqabs – took effect on 1 October.

The TV debate kicks off at 20:15 (18:15 GMT), involving all the primary election rivals.

For many years Austrian politics was dominated by centrists of the OeVP and SPOe, however observers say a brand new coalition between them is much less probably now than an OeVP-Freedom Get together authorities.

Through the marketing campaign forward of Sunday’s snap election, Mr Kurz usually reminded voters that he opposed the 2015 inflow of irregular migrants.

In 2015-2016, greater than 1,000,000 migrants – principally Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees – reached Germany.

Austria, on the primary transit route, struggled to manage till an EU take care of Turkey drastically reduce the numbers flowing by means of the Balkans.

As overseas minister, Mr Kurz helped to dealer the brand new Balkan border restrictions final 12 months that stored migrant numbers down.

His robust stance on immigration seems to have drawn many FPOe supporters to his conservative OeVP.

Final 12 months the FPOe’s Norbert Hofer narrowly misplaced the presidential election, gained by ex-Inexperienced Get together chief Alexander Van der Bellen.

The FPOe was launched in 1956 by ex-Nazis and loved electoral success underneath the late Jörg Haider, who gave the occasion a populist, anti-EU makeover.

In 2000 Mr Haider’s occasion joined the OeVP in authorities, souring relations with the EU. He died in a automobile crash in 2008 and the occasion’s present chief is Heinz-Christian Strache.