Austrian President Asks Faymann to Continue ’Grand Coalition’

Austria’s President Heinz Fischer asked Chancellor Werner Faymann to form a new government and supported a continuation of the so-called “grand coalition” that has governed the Alpine republic since 2007.

Faymann’s Social Democrats remained the strongest party in Austria’s Sept. 29 national elections. Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelegger’s conservative People’s Party finished second. Both parties fell to their worst result since World War II as voters strengthened the anti-euro Freedom Party and elected two protest movements to the parliament.

“The strongest and the second-strongest parties have a stable majority of seats,” Fischer told journalists at Vienna’s former imperial palace, adding that he’d like successful negotiations between Faymann and Spindelegger to form a new government.

Faymann reiterated he seeks to start negotiations with the People’s Party, ruling out a coalition with Heinz-Christian Strache’s Freedom Party. “We don’t need experiments with unreliable partners,” Faymann said.

Conservatives have kept a possible pact with the euro-skeptics in play. A deal would need support from a party formed by Austrian-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach. The party will decide Oct. 14 on who to start negotiations with.

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