World

Campaigning on Austrian fears of mass migration, right wing party poised to Vienna elections

  • Top candidate for the local elections in Vienna Heinz Christian Strache from the right-wing Freedom Party, FPOE, informs the media in front of a polling station in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    Top candidate for the local elections in Vienna Heinz Christian Strache from the right-wing Freedom Party, FPOE, informs the media in front of a polling station in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)  (The Associated Press)

  • Vienna Mayor Michael Haeupl of the Social Democrats, SPOE, casts his vote for the local elections in the Austrian capital, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Vienna, Austria. (AP Photo/Hans Punz)

    Vienna Mayor Michael Haeupl of the Social Democrats, SPOE, casts his vote for the local elections in the Austrian capital, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Vienna, Austria. (AP Photo/Hans Punz)  (The Associated Press)

  • Vienna Mayor Michael Haeupl of the Social Democrats, SPOE, cats his vote for the local elections in the Austrian capital, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Vienna, Austria. (AP Photo/Hans Punz)

    Vienna Mayor Michael Haeupl of the Social Democrats, SPOE, cats his vote for the local elections in the Austrian capital, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Vienna, Austria. (AP Photo/Hans Punz)  (The Associated Press)

A right-wing populist Austrian party that critics say exploits the country's fears of mass migration is poised to wrest control of Vienna.

A win of Sunday's elections for Vienna's municipal government by the Freedom Party would end Socialist dominance of the Austrian capital since World War II. It would also position party leader Heinz-Christian Strache to bid for Austria's chancellorship in federal elections to be held within three years.

Polls showed the Socialists ahead by only a few percentage points ahead of the vote, with concerns about immigration a major issue for voters.

Voting stations opened at 0500 GMT and were to close at 1500 GMT Sunday. Full results were expected by late evening.