Sunday, August 7

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz resigns after corruption allegations

Correspondent in Berlin



“My country is more important to me than I am,” he said.Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in a press conference called this Saturday with just half an hour in advance. “I want to leave room to avoid chaos and guarantee stability,” he announced his resignation, after the junior partner with whom he governs in coalition, The Greens, they would have withdrawn their support and they would have requested his replacement at the head of the government by some other “impeccable” member of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). Alexander Schallenberg, Until now, Minister of Foreign Affairs, will be his successor. The rest of the ministers will remain in their portfolios. After the party closed ranks around Kurz and defended the innocence of its leader regarding allegations of corruption, The Greens had achieved the convocation of an extraordinary plenary session of parliament, next Tuesday, to vote a vote of no confidence that now remains in the air. Once the demand to replace Kurz had been fulfilled, they would not have to comply with their threat, especially because for this they must seek the support of the far-right party FPÖ, which had made public its intention to make him pay dearly.

“There have been criminal charges against me in the last few days. You are wrong. I will be able to clarify it, I am deeply convinced of that, ”Kurz insisted, who seemed serene and calm. He is experiencing, he said, what many other politicians have experienced before. «It would be nice if the presumption of innocence it also applies here, “he suggested, though he admitted for the first time that” I wrote messages in the heat of the moment that I would not rephrase now. I’m just a buggy person, he apologized. Kurz explained that the goal of his resignation is end the government crisis and the situation of institutional stagnation, as well as avoiding chaos in Austria. He thanked the citizen he has received in recent days and celebrated that Schallenberg has “many diplomatic skills that are needed at this very moment.”

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Will continue in politics

Sebastian Kurz, nine other suspects and three organizations are being investigated by the use of public money destined to the purchase of advertising space in the newspaper ‘Österreich’ in exchange, according to the prosecutors, that favorable information was published. At the time, Kurz held the post of Foreign Minister and no formal charges have yet been made, although the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (WKSTA) affirms that it has indications of breach of trust, bribery and corruption. Kurz, in any case, continues to plead not guilty.

His resignation as Chancellor of Austria does not mean a complete withdrawal from politics. He will remain the head of the ÖVP and he will move to parliament as the leader of the parliamentary group, he warned this Saturday. In the last 48 hours, the Greens have been maintaining contacts with the rest of the parties with a parliamentary presence, in search of an alternative coalition that would necessarily have to count on the FPÖ. The ÖVP has also maintained contacts to seek a new government partner. It is still unclear if the Greens will continue in government or if the ÖVP is preparing a move towards the FPÖ, with which it has previously shared a coalition. The only thing clear is that, with his movement, Kurz has ensured that the ÖVP remains the dominant force in government and the expressions of support and gratitude from their people have not been long in coming. The Governor of Styria, Hermann Schützenhöfer, expressed his “respect” in a first reaction to the resignation. Sebastian Kurz was an excellent Federal Chancellor of Austria. His successful fight against the epidemic, economic recovery and his focus on research remain his particular merit. His personal decision to clear the way at the head of the federal government has earned me great respect, “he said. From the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ), however, this step was described as “A sham to maintain power.”

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