Since last fall’s election in Austria, I’ve been fascinated by now-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz as a political character. At the time, his two-pronged campaign strategy—a mix of Macron-style “movement” branding and a sharp turn to the right on immigration—was unique among European center-right parties.
Now, a year later, others have tried to follow in his footsteps—without the same kind of success Kurz had. From the Moderates in Sweden last month to most recently, the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), it seems that following the Kurz playbook doesn’t really work for anyone besides Kurz.
Last month, I spent some time in Vienna circling back with the people I talked to during the campaign last fall. One year after the election and ten months into his party’s coalition government with the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), Kurz has managed to create a remarkably stable government. Paradoxically, he’s been able to both keep the peace with his far-right coalition partners while also keeping distance from the more unsavory aspects of their rhetoric.
You can read the piece here, in The Atlantic. Next up: Polish local elections this weekend!