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Austrian ruling coalition scrapes majority: exit polls

Austria's two main centrist political parties scraped together a majority in elections Sunday, exit polls showed, enough for their coalition to continue but with the far-right a close third. In their worst result since 1945, the Social Democrats (SPOe) won 27 percent, down from 29.3 percent at the last election in 2008, while the conservative People's Party (OeVP) fell to 23 percent from 26 percent.

Austrian ruling coalition scrapes majority: exit polls

Austria's two main centrist political parties scraped together a majority in elections Sunday, exit polls showed, enough for their coalition to continue but with the far-right a close third. In their worst result since 1945, the Social Democrats (SPOe) won 27 percent, down from 29.3 percent at the last election in 2008, while the conservative People's Party (OeVP) fell to 23 percent from 26 percent.

Austrian ruling coalition scrapes majority: exit polls

Austria's two main centrist political parties scraped together a majority in elections Sunday, exit polls showed, enough for their coalition to continue but with the far-right a close third. In their worst result since 1945, the Social Democrats (SPOe) won 27 percent, down from 29.3 percent at the last election in 2008, while the conservative People's Party (OeVP) fell to 23 percent from 26 percent.

Austria's ruling parties set for worst ever result

Polls opened Sunday in Austria's general election, with the country's two-party centrist coalition likely to stay in power but possibly with their worst result ever. A week after neighbouring Germany handed Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats 41.5 percent of votes, Austria's Social Democrats (SPOe) and conservative People's Party (OeVP) can only wish for such a result -- despite both trying to model themselves on the German chancellor.

Louboutin turns heel on anti-Islamist ad

Luxury shoe designer Christian Louboutin is asking a Belgian court to kill a far-right campaign using his iconic stilettos for a poster denouncing Islam, the Belga news agency reported Wednesday. The poster by Flemish group "Women against Islamisation" shows the bare legs of an ex-Miss Belgium wearing signature red-soled Louboutins as she lifts up a black dress. Words etched along the naked leg mark potential skirt lengths -- ranging from "Sharia compatible" at the ankle to "stoning" high up a thigh.

Austria factfile

Austria, which joined the European Union in 1995 and was one of the 11 founder members of the eurozone, goes to the polls on Sunday to elect a new parliament. Key facts: GEOGRAPHY: at the heart of Europe, Austria is bordered by Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Its territory covers 83,879 square kilometres (32,385 square miles) and is divided into nine regions or "Land". POPULATION: 8.4 million (Statistik Austria, 2012) LANGUAGE: German RELIGION: majority Roman Catholic

Crime makes Marseille springboard for French far-right's ambitions

By Ingrid Melander MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - Gangland killings in broad daylight on the streets of Marseille, and the apparent inability of authorities to do anything about it, have handed France's National Front a dream springboard from which to launch its far-right agenda. France's second largest city, notorious in the 1960s as a link in the "French Connection" which funneled heroin from Turkey to Europe and the United States, has been hit this year by a spate of drug-related murders.

Swiss region bans full-face Muslim veil

Voters in Switzerland's Italian-speaking region Sunday slapped a ban on wearing full-face veils, a move condemned by the country's Muslim community and Amnesty International. Results from a referendum in the southern canton of Ticino showed that 65 percent of the electorate backed a proposal to forbid the covering of faces in public areas by any group. Echoing bans in France and Belgium, the measure does not single out Muslims directly.

French far-right aims for success at local, EU elections

By Ingrid Melander MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - France's far-right National Front, buoyed by improving poll numbers, is aiming for big gains in municipal elections next year and the top spot in the European parliament ballot, its leaders said at the party's annual convention. The two 2014 elections, the first since the Socialists came to power in 2012, will dominate the political agenda in the euro zone's second-largest country for the next nine months.

Le Pen wants to campaign with Dutch far-right

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen wants to campaign with Dutch anti-Islamic party leader Geert Wilders in next year's European parliamentary elections, she said in an interview Saturday. "We could perhaps campaign together for the elections," Le Pen told Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad. "It's important that the voter sees that we do not stand alone, that similar patriotic movements are active in every EU country," she said.
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