The ÖVP-Greens coalition in Austria has a second chance. Sebastian Kurz, who is suspected of corruption, is replaced by a top diplomat. The Federal President urges “focused work”.
Vienna – Two days after Sebastian Kurz resigned from the office of Federal Chancellor, Austria got a new head of government. Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen will swear in on 52-year-old Alexander Schallenberg as Chancellor on Monday.
Schallenberg and Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler want to continue the ruling coalition of conservative ÖVP and Greens since January 2020. Despite the recent government crisis, there is a solid foundation for this, she assures.
Briefly under suspicion of corruption
The Federal President made both of them personally responsible for ensuring that the alliance worked together in an objective and constructive manner for the benefit of the Austrians. Kurz, who was suspected of corruption, resigned on Saturday evening. That was the condition for the Greens to hold on to the alliance.
Schallenberg has been jointly responsible for Austria’s foreign policy in top positions for years. The multilingual, internationally experienced diplomat is just as tough on migration issues as his predecessor in office.
The government crisis was triggered by investigations by the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office. Close colleagues of the Chancellor are suspected of having bought well-meaning reporting in a media company in order to pave the way for Kurz to the party leadership and the Federal Chancellery from 2016. Kurz is also listed as a suspect.
Briefly remains party chairman
When he left, Kurz again emphasized his innocence. He gave up his office out of responsibility for the country. After the end of the ÖVP-Greens coalition, the chaos of a four-party cooperation between the Greens, SPÖ, liberal Neos and right-wing FPÖ threatens. Kurz himself changes from the chancellery to parliament to the seat of the parliamentary group leader of the ÖVP. He also remains party chairman. The opposition criticized this step because the 35-year-old would continue to be an influential political figure and the “Kurz system” would be preserved.
The opposition will die new investigative allegations against the 35-year-old in a review committee. The announced spokesman for SPÖ and FPÖ on Sunday. A motion for this will probably be tabled in parliament soon. dpa