Austria's new coalition government to be sworn in Thursday

Austria's president will swear in the country's new center-left chancellor and his Cabinet on Thursday, installing a "grand coalition" government forged more than three months after hotly contested elections.

The midmorning ceremony will make Alfred Gusenbauer, whose Social Democrats narrowly won the Oct. 1 elections, the country's new chancellor. On Monday, Gusenbauer and outgoing chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, head of the conservative People's Party, announced they had agreed to form a coalition after intense negotiations that bogged down for weeks, reoirts AP.

Some Social Democrats including university students, the head of the country's influential trade union federation and a few veteran party leaders contend Gusenbauer too hastily surrendered control of key ministries to Schuessel's People's Party.

Police said several hundred people, mostly Socialist youth, were expected to demonstrate near the central Ballhausplatz while President Heinz Fischer performs the swearing in ceremony, adding the area has largely been blocked off. Early Thursday, dozens of people protested outside Gusenbauer's Vienna apartment building, Austrian broadcaster ORF reported.

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