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Austrian elections see 'grand coalition' stay in power

The conservative People's Party and the Social Democrats won enough seats to continue their alliance.

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Austria's currently governing two-party 'grand coalition' is set to rule again after winning Sunday's elections. (Dietr Nagl/AFP/Getty Images)

Early parliamentary election results suggest that Austria's two-party "grand coalition" has won another five-year term.

The conservative People's Party and the Social Democrats won enough seats to continue their alliance, if they choose to.

By Sunday evening the Social Democrats had won 27.1 percent of the vote, while the People's Party had 23.8 percent, according to preliminary results cited by the BBC.

That means that together they won just a fraction over half of all votes — down from 55 percent in 2008.

Both parties have dominated Austrian politics since the end of World War II, according to the BBC. However, fringe parties chipped away at their lead during this most recent election.

The extreme-right, anti-euro, anti-immigrant Freedom Party won 21.4 percent, up four points from the last election.

The euroskeptic Team Stronach created by Austro-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach won about 5.8 percent, while the liberal New Austria party received about 4.8 percent.

A string of corruption scandals has recently plagued Austrian politics, but economic growth and the lowest jobless rate in Europe likely ensured the current coalition's survival.

Voter turnout was about 66 percent — a drop from the last election, according to Reuters.

The polls were to select 183 members of parliament for Austria's lower house.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/130929/austrian-elections-see-grand-coalition-return-power