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Exit polls project conservative People's Party on top in Austrian election

The conservative People's Party in Austria appeared to clinch a win in the national election held Oct. 15, setting the stage for Austria's foreign minister, Sebastian Kurz, to become the country's next chancellor, early projections and exit polls showed.

If confirmed, the 31-year-old Kurz, who pledged to get tough on immigration by shutting down routes to Europe and cap benefits for refugees, will lead the country amid rising tensions over immigration and an apparent hard shift to the political right.

His People's Party will gain the most seats in the National Council if the projections are confirmed, and could form a coalition with the Freedom Party which also posted a strong showing in early results.

Final results were not expected until later in the week of Oct. 16.