Austria's conservative 'wunderwuzzi' Sebastian Kurz likely to be Europe's youngest leader at 31

Kurz has helped steer the center-right People's Party further right.

Kurz, dubbed “wunderwuzzi” meaning “wonderkid,” called for a snap election back in May and announced his candidacy for chancellor in June in a bold gamble that he won when voters handed his party about 32 percent of the vote.

He currently serves as the country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Integration, a position he was appointed to in 2013 at the age of 27 -- the youngest to hold the post in Europe.

Domestically, he has introduced and supported policies that lean more right-wing than center-right, politically.

Some criticize Kurz for mimicking the policies of Austria’s extreme-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), despite his leadership in what is billed as a more centrist party, while others praise him, arguing that his tough stance on migration appeals to voters and reduces the actual power of the radical right.

Austria’s electoral system makes it difficult for a party to gain a majority on its own, which is the case for Kurz’ People’s Party that will need to form a coalition to govern the country. Kurz will likely attempt to form a coalition with the Freedom Party, which is expected by some to make a lot of demands rather than act as a friendly partner.

“Kurz’s actions do not address the underlying factors fueling radical right-wing populism in Austria," Jarman wrote. "While Kurz has reduced the FPÖ’s prominence in the short term, he has also brought radical right-wing populist ideas into the mainstream of Austrian politics. This action will not easily be undone, and future populists will be able to take advantage of it to bring more instability to Austrian politics."

The contrast between Kurz' tactics with Austria and recent policies in Germany, he added, will likely result in different long-term outcomes.

"Germany, meanwhile, has taken the opposite approach," Jarman said. "It faces greater risks from radical right-wing populists in the short term, but is less likely to see a long-term populist impact on its political system."