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Austrian coalition government talks in final stages

Xinhua,December 15, 2017 Adjust font size:

VIENNA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Talks to form Austria's next lower-house coalition government are in the final stages, with a conclusion expected to come by Saturday, according to local media reports.

Leader of the center-right People's Party and upcoming chancellor Sebastian Kurz met with President Alexander Van der Bellen on Thursday to discuss the current state of talks between his party and the right-wing Freedom Party.

He told the media afterwards that negotiations are on the home stretch, and that a conclusion before Christmas is possible.

Media reports suggest that the talks are likely to conclude on Saturday, and swearing-in of the new government may take place as soon as Monday.

The Kurier newspaper reported that one outstanding issue had been the wish from both parties to have a higher contingent of ministerial posts filled by women, and that now appears to have been resolved.

Further details include that the Freedom Party will take over the defence and interior ministries, thus giving them control of both intelligence-related ministries. They will also take on the infrastructure and health ministries.

Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache is to take on the role of vice-chancellor in the new government. Enditem