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Austria's new coalition sworn in

Social Democratic leader Werner Faymann (left) shakes hands with Josef Proell, head of the People's Party
The coalition deal was announced last month

A new coalition government has been sworn in in Austria, two months after snap general elections.

It is made up of the centre-left Social Democrats and the conservative People's Party, whose previous coalition collapsed this summer.

Social Democrat leader Werner Faymann will be chancellor, while Josef Proell of the People's Party becomes vice chancellor and finance minister.

The move keeps out of office far-right parties who made big gains in the poll.

The new government will be under pressure to perform much better than its predecessor because of urgent problems confronting Austria in the face of the global economic downturn, correspondents say.

Protest votes

At a ceremony in Vienna, Mr Faymann was officially sworn in to lead the country's 18-member cabinet.

Mr Faymann's Social Democrats will also oversee defence, infrastructure, the social and labour ministry, education, health and women's affairs.

The conservatives will run foreign affairs, the interior, justice, finance, the economy and agriculture.

The Social Democrats won the September elections with 30% of the vote. But they, and the People's Party, with 26%, suffered their worst results since 1945.

The two far-right parties - the Freedom Party and the Alliance for the Future of Austria - won nearly 29% of the vote, doubling their support since the 2006 elections.

This was the result of protest votes on a variety of issues, the BBC's Bethany Bell in Vienna said.

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