Austria set for rightward political turn after Sunday vote

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2015 file photo refugees arrive at the border between Austria and Hungary near Heiligenkreuz, about 180 kms (110 miles) south of Vienna, Austria. Ahead of Austrian national elections Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, the question is less whether the country will swing rightward under the next government and more about how sharp that turn will be, with voters set to reward two major parties that have exploited fears of immigration and Islam. (AP Photo/Christian Bruna, file)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, a person passes posters of the right-wing Freedom party, FPOE, and the conservative Austrian People's Party, OEVP, from left, in Vienna, Austria, Wednesday, Oct.11, 2017. Ahead of Austrian national elections Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, the question is less whether the country will swing rightward under the next government and more about how sharp that turn will be, with voters set to reward two major parties that have exploited fears of immigration and Islam. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
FILE - In this March 31, 2016 file photo Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Vienna. Kurz leads the Austria People Party_now under the name Liste Sebastian Kurz_in Sunday's Austrian national elections. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak, file)
FILE - In this May 23, 2017 file photo Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz delivers a speech during a conference on terrorism of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE, at the Hofburg palace in Vienna, Austria. Kurz leads the Austria People Party_now under the name Liste Sebastian Kurz_in Sunday's Austrian national elections. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak, file)
FILE - In this Aug. 24, 2015 file photo Austria's Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, second from left, accompanied by Macedonian Interior Minister Mitko Cavkov, left, arrive at the place where migrants cross from Greece into Macedonia, on the railway tracks near the place where thousands of migrants have been kept for three days on the border line between the two countries, near southern Macedonia's town of Gevgelija. Ahead of Austrian national elections Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, the question is less whether the country will swing rightward under the next government and more about how sharp that turn will be, with voters set to reward two major parties that have exploited fears of immigration and Islam. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski, file)
FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2015 file photo migrants walk on the highway A4 toward Vienna after crossing the Hungarian-Austrian border near Nickelsdorf, Austria. Ahead of Austrian national elections Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, the question is less whether the country will swing rightward under the next government and more about how sharp that turn will be, with voters set to reward two major parties that have exploited fears of immigration and Islam. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak, file)

VIENNA — Austrians will vote Sunday in national elections that are expected to swing the country sharply to the right, with voters set to reward two major parties that have exploited fears of immigration and Islam.

The main question is just how far to the right Austria will move. Recent polls show that the party with the strongest support is the center-right People's Party, with the far-right Freedom Party in second place, making a coalition between the two the most likely outcome.

The Freedom Party is strongly euroskeptic. And while it has long distanced itself from its Nazi roots, and its leader, Hans-Christian Strache, has dismissed his own links with neo-Nazi organizations as youthful folly, its presence in a government could present a new challenge to moderate European governments.

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