Foreign Policy Digital

Meet the First Millennial to Run a Western Country

Nobody knows if 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz is an establishment conservative or a far-right populist — and that’s why he’ll soon be running Austria.

In 2010, the 24-year-old Austrian politician Sebastian Kurz shot to fame on the back of a black Humvee dubbed the “Horny-mobile,” which he drove around the streets of Vienna ahead of local elections, handing out condoms and proclaiming that black — the color of the center-right Austrian People’s Party — was “sexy.” The election was a disaster for the local party, but Kurz’s career was made.

Now, at 31 years old, the baby-faced Kurz is likely to become Europe’s youngest head of state in next week’s parliamentary elections. Barring a major electoral upset, he will be the first millennial to lead a European Union nation. Yet Kurz’s relative youth goes hand in hand with the other signal fact about him — Austrian politics, and its youth, have taken a hard swing to the right amid economic stagnation and an ongoing immigration crisis. While his bold style and unabashed conservativism have brought a sense of excitement to a once-predictable Austrian politics, Kurz has moved to revitalize a declining establishment party

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