Sebastian Kurz: Austria's answer to Macron and Trudeau?

Updated 1116 GMT (1916 HKT) October 13, 2017

(CNN)What were you doing at the age of 31? Whatever you were up to, it's unlikely you were preparing to take the reins of your country as its youngest ever leader.

That's the prospect facing Sebastian Kurz, nicknamed "Wunderwuzzi" (roughly translated, it means someone who can walk on water) and the man widely expected to become Austria's next Chancellor on Sunday.
Described by one political analyst as "the dream son-in-law for middle class Austrian women," and another as Austria's version of Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau, Kurz's rise has been as remarkable as it has been improbable.
Kurz took over as head of the center-right Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) in May. In the few short months since, he has transformed a party which has been in coalition government for the past 30 years into his own personal movement.
He's re-branded, renaming it the "The New People's Party" and dumping its traditional black color scheme in favor of a bright turquoise hue aimed at giving it an "anti-establishment" look.
Kurz has pushed his party to the right of its already center-right stance, and taken up a firm position on the big issue dominating this election: Immigration.
Since the 2015 refugee crisis, Austria's political landscape has shifted to the right -- a move which analysts put down to the country having received more than 100,000 asylum seekers fleeing violence in the Middle East.

Shifting stance

Kurz's tactics have led to accusations that he has copied the policies of the populist, far-right Freedom Party -- a year after it almost caused a political earthquake in Austria.
In May 2016, the Freedom Party's Norbert Hofer came within touching distance of the presidency, losing by just 31,000 votes to his Green Party rival Alexander Van der Bellen.
Hofer then disputed the outcome, forcing the authorities to annul the election result over postal voting irregularities.
Norbert Hofer, presidential candidate for the right-wing populist Austria Freedom Party came second in the 2016 election.
The establishment rallied behind Hofer's opponent in the re-run, electing Van der Bellen as the nation's first left-wing president since World War II.
But despite Van der Bellen's victory, the debate had been framed by Hofer, ensuring the Freedom Party's agenda remained center stage.
That success was not lost on Kurz, so when a snap election was called after the collapse of the coalition government in May, he took the initiative.
Austrian political analyst Thomas Hofer says the party leader has positioned himself "smartly," boosting his party's popularity with right-wing voters.
"Kurz has managed to take over the Freedom Party issues and frame them in a socially acceptable way," he says. "He has appealed to those who could have voted for the Freedom Party."
Sebastian Kurzs is greeted by supporters before a television debate.