Austrian FM Calls for Early Elections

Austrian FM Calls for Early Elections

BERLIN (AP) -- Austria's foreign minister, an influential figure in the country's junior governing party, is calling for early elections after the vice chancellor announced his resignation.

Sebastian Kurz is considered the center-right Austrian People's Party's likeliest new leader after Reinhold Mitterlehner quit Wednesday, citing persistent party infighting. The conservatives are junior partners in an often bad-tempered "grand coalition" with the center-left Social Democrats of Chancellor Christian Kern.

Kurz, 30, didn't specify Friday whether he will take the party leadership. A decision on an interim leader is expected Sunday.

Kern has said he hopes to keep the governing coalition alive until an election due late next year.

But Kurz said: "I personally think early elections would be the right way to make change possible in Austria."

(KA)