Center-right party win secure as Austrians count ballots

Hans-Christian Strache, leader of the strongly eurosceptic Austrian Freedom Party, center, celebrates with his mother Marion Strache, left, and former presidential candidate of the party, Norbert Hofer, right, in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, after the closing of the polling stations for the Austrian national elections. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, head of Austrian People's Party, speaks during the election party in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, after the closing of the polling stations for the Austrian national elections. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern leaves a TV studio in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, after the closing of the polling stations for the Austrian national elections. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
A supporter of the Freedom Party waits for party leader Hans-Christian Strache to appear the election party in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, after the closing of the polling stations for the Austrian national elections. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, head of Austrian People's Party, arrives to the election party in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, after the closing of the polling stations for the Austrian national elections. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

VIENNA — Hundreds of thousands of ballots must still be counted in Austria's general elections, but the tally is not likely to substantially change results that have put 31-year old Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz on track to become Europe's youngest leader.

Near-final results of Sunday's elections that have already been announced do not include the absentee ballots and those cast by voters outside of their home districts. The Interior Ministry says it expects to have the more than 600,000 absentee votes counted by late Monday and the rest — between 50,000 and 100,000 — by Thursday.

The final tally could move Chancellor Christian Kern's Social Democratic Party to second place and relegate the right-wing Freedom Party to third. But the lead of Kurz's People's Party is not endangered.

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