Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announces his resignation after corruption charges

Austrian Chancellor Kurz, suspected of corruption, announced his resignation on Saturday 9 October. “It would be irresponsible to slip into months of chaos or deadlock”, Kurz told reporters in Vienna, explaining that he was stepping down to ” stability “ of the country while refuting “False accusations”. “I want to give way to avoid chaos”, he added, saying he proposed the name of his foreign minister, Alexander Schallenberg, to succeed him.

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According to the prosecution, between 2016 and 2018, “Of the resources of the ministry” finances were used for “Fund partially manipulated opinion polls that served an exclusively partisan political interest”.

Mr. Kurz and nine other suspects, as well as three organizations, are under investigation for various offenses related to this case. Searches took place on Wednesday, in particular at the headquarters of the conservative ÖVP party and at the chancellery. In a statement, prosecutors said their investigations are aimed directly at the young and very popular chancellor for “Embezzlement, corruption and influence peddling”.

Previous corruption scandal in 2019

All opposition parties demanded the resignation of the chancellor. The Austrian Greens, minority partners of the government, also questioned, Thursday, the ability of the conservative to continue his action as chancellor. The vice-chancellor and leader of environmentalists, Werner Kogler, had estimated that“A new step had been taken” with the opening of the investigation. Parliament was to meet Tuesday in extraordinary session, with the possible tabling of a joint motion of censure.

Entering the government as Secretary of State ten years ago and then becoming Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Kurz first took up the Chancellery in December 2017. Associated with the far-right party FPÖ, he saw his government swept away in May 2019 by a corruption scandal, known as Ibizagate.

He then returned to power in January 2020, this time alongside the Greens, a coalition that had already been challenged several times due to other cases and different views on the refugee issue.

The World with AFP