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Europe

Austrian Parties Agree on Grand Coalition

Austria will continue to be governed by a grand coalition of its two major parties after those groups agreed to share power at a meeting Sunday.

An Austrian flag in front of Vienna's Belvedere Castle

Austria's current grand coalition has been in power since January 2007

That means Werner Faymann, 48, of the SPOe Social Democrats will take over as Austria's chancellor. His party will rule together with the OeVP conservative Austrian People's Party.

Werner Faymann walking in front of supporters on election night

Werner Faymann is expected to become chancellor

Austrians went to the polls Sept. 28. But with no clear winner in that election, the parties have been negotiating about power sharing the whole time.

Officials from both parties said they suddenly agreed to the coalition Sunday night out of realization that Austria needs leadership to face the challenge of the financial crisis.

In the election, both major parties lost support, with the SPOe garnering 29 percent of the vote and the OeVP winning 26 percent. Those losses meant sharp gains for more right-wing parties.

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