Europe

Social Democrats hold off far-right in Vienna elections

Mayor and province governor of Vienna, Michael Haeupl of the Social Democratic Party, celebrates with supporters in Vienna. Photo: 11 October 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The result allows the Social Democrats to continue to govern Vienna in coalition

Austria's Social Democrats have held onto power in the capital Vienna, withstanding a challenge by the far-right Freedom Party in municipal polls.

Preliminary results show the centre-left party secured about 39% of the vote - down nearly 5% from the last election in 2010.

The Freedom Party, who campaigned on concerns of mass migration, had 31% - an increase of about 5%.

The result means the Social Democrats can continue to govern in coalition.

It is expected that the Green Party - which polled about 12% - will remain the Social Democrats' coalition partner in the new Vienna city government.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache celebrated, saying he was satisfied with the result

The Social Democrats have ruled the capital since 1945.

But the far right Freedom Party looks set to claim its strongest result yet, capitalising on fears about migrants and the economy, the BBC's Bethany Bell in Vienna reports.

Tens of thousands of migrants, heading for Germany, have passed through Vienna in recent weeks, our correspondent says. About 5% of them have applied for asylum in Austria.

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