Austria's Kurz, Greens agree on new coalition government

Austria's main center-right party and the environmentalist Greens have agreed on a coalition deal that would return ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to power

BERLIN -- Austria's main center-right party and the environmentalist Greens agreed on a coalition deal Wednesday night that will return ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to power.

Both Kurz and Werner Kogler from the Greens, who led the negotiations between the two parties, told reporters in Vienna they had hammered out a government program that will be presented to the public in detail on Thursday afternoon.

Kogler agreed saying that, “it wasn't easy, but that's also not what we were elected for.”

If the Green party's delegates formally approve the coalition deal at their party convention on Saturday, the new government could be sworn in as early as next week. It would be the first time that the conservative People's Party and the Greens form a government in Austria.

The new Austrian government is likely to be significantly different from Kurz's previous alliance with the far-right Freedom Party.

Kurz led a coalition with the Freedom Party for 17 months until May, when a video showing then-Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache offering favors to a purported Russian investor prompted Kurz to pull the plug.

Parliament then ousted Kurz in a no-confidence vote. Austria has since been run by a non-partisan interim government under Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein.

The Freedom Party said after the election, in which it suffered significant losses, that it preferred to go into opposition to rebuild itself.