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A week after general elections in Austria, social-democratic leaders in Burgenland and Styria and the social-democratic mayor of Vienna “are pressuring the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) to rapidly commit to a grand coalition, and threatening to join the opposition in the event of disagreement,” reports Der Standard.

The warning came shortly after ÖVP leader Michael Spindelegger announced that he was ready to negotiate with the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) with a view to forming a “black-blue” coalition. The right-wing populist FPÖ, which is now the third political force in the country, already governed with the ÖVP in 1999, in the time of Jörg Haider, prompting EU sanctions against Austria.

The initiative undertaken by the three social-democratic leaders has drawn criticism from the ranks of their own party, the SPÖ, points out the daily. In particular, the SPÖ leader in Upper Austria has insisted that they should not “play with fire”.