Government crisis in Austria: Chancellor Sebastian Kurz resigns – politics

Government crisis in Austria!

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (35, ÖVP) has announced his resignation. “My country is more important to me than myself. What is needed now is stable conditions. I would therefore like to make room in order to resolve the stalemate, ”said Kurz at a press conference on Saturday evening. His successor is to be the current Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (52, ÖVP). But briefly wants to remain ÖVP boss and return to parliament as group leader.

“The step is not an easy one for me,” Kurz said on Saturday evening. But in his opinion it is irresponsible to “embark on a month-long phase of chaos or political slippage.”

According to BILD information, there was also pressure in the background from the ÖVP governors (prime minister in Germany). They did not want a complete loss of power that would have happened if they were voted out of office on Tuesday.

Successor Schallenberg is a close confidante of Kurz, already worked under him as an employee in the foreign ministry, then became foreign minister himself in the interim government after the Ibiza affair. “I think he also has the necessary political skills that it may need so that we can all rebuild trust within the coalition – within the coalition parties,” Kurz said of his successor.

It is unclear how the Greens will react to the ÖVP solution, which had demanded that Kurz no longer be allowed to remain Chancellor. As ÖVP leader and parliamentary group leader, however, he will continue to have a decisive influence on ÖVP politics in the government.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg is to be Sebastian Kurz’s successorPhoto: picture alliance / ROBERT JAEGER / APA /

On Friday, Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen reprimanded the Chancellor

On Friday, Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen reprimanded the ChancellorPhoto: Herbert Neubauer / dpa

Kurz had resisted his resignation on Friday evening. He and his party are “able to act and, above all, willing to act,” said the Chancellor. Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen (77) had reprimanded Kurz just hours beforehand: “There are serious accusations in the room.” The result is a “moral image that is not good for democracy”. Van der Bellen has different expectations of the behavior of politicians. Boom!

That is what the allegations are about

Kurz’s rise to the top of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and into the Chancellery is said to have been secured by embellished surveys and bought media reports since 2016. For this, tax funds have flowed.

On Wednesday, 1,400 public prosecutor and police officers searched the Federal Chancellery and the party headquarters of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). We were looking for data, e-mails and text messages from 2016, when Kurz was still foreign minister and aspiring to power.

The allegations of the Vienna Corruption Public Prosecutor’s Office against Sebastian Kurz according to the investigation decision (available from BILD): He wanted to improve his chances of taking over the “new” ÖVP and his election as Chancellor in the 2017 elections with a media offensive. Kurz decided with his helpers to finance and launch manipulated surveys.

The financing – allegedly taken over by the Fellner Media Group “Austria”, but actually financed with state money through advertisements from the Ministry of Finance. The media in return: pro-short reports.

It’s all based on thousands of chat messages and emails. In the course of the so-called Ibiza affair, which led to the break of the Kurz coalition with the right-wing populist ÖVP of Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache in May 2019, they were confiscated from a Kurz confidante.

According to the search warrant, everything happened “after prior agreement with Sebastian Kurz”, from whom “content-related specifications” had also come. Kurz defends himself: He has the impression that he is being “accused or assumed to be wrong”. He wants to defend himself “with all legal and also democratic means that are available in our constitutional state” against “all false accusations”.