The only child of a secretary and a teacher, Sebastian Kurz joined the People’s Party (OeVP) youth wing in 2003. As its chief, he drew ridicule with a 2010 council election campaign featuring the slogan “Black makes you hot”. The former law student enjoyed a meteoric rise, becoming secretary of integration in 2011 and foreign minister two years later, aged just 27. Full of praise for Hungary’s populist premier Viktor Orban, Kurz claims credit for closing the Balkan migrant trail in 2016. The move saw the Austrian named one of the most influential Europeans by news website Politico.
Kurz is known by some of his nicknames like ‘Whizz Kid’, ‘Basti Fantasti’, ‘Massiah’. He is World’s youngest leader in waiting. The takeover of the OeVP in May by Emperor Kurz was as swift as it was radical. First, he ended the decade-long unhappy coalition with the Social Democrats (SPOe). Then he rebranded the OeVP and its black party colour as a turquoise movement tough on migrants and easy on taxes. The strategy of putting Austrian’s first propelled the sluggish OeVP to pole position in opinion polls and Kurz to near rock star status. Whenever he goes, fans sporting turquoise T-shirts chant his name and women ask if they can hug him. Selfie sessions with Kurz, always in slim cuts suits and tireless white shirts, last over two hours. Observers say there has not been this much euphoria over an Austrian politician since Joerg Haider, the magnetic but controversial Freedom Party (FPOe) leader who died in a drunk-driving car crash in 2008. This phenomenon is not all that new and resembles the expectations placed in Joerg Haider, journalist Christa Zoechling wrote in current affairs magazine Profil ahead of the ballot. In slick campaign adverts of him scaling the Alps, Kurz promised to echo the FPOe to slash taxes and red tape and return this beautiful country to the peak.
But his possible next move to enter into a coalition with the far right FPOe of Heinz Christian Strache could see some of his shine removed.
According to Paris based Austria expert Patrick Moreau, Kurz’s ideas on everything from immigration to economic policy represent a complete burst with the EU.