Today: Saturday, 23 October 2021 year

Austria: Chancellor Sebastian Kurz steps down amid corruption probe

Austria: Chancellor Sebastian Kurz steps down amid corruption probe

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz preferred to save Coalition and announced on Saturday his decision to step down, Reuters has learned. Kurz denies any wrongdoing.

Austria’s conservative Chancellor has to resign to pull his Coalition government back from the brink of collapse. Over the years, Kurz was a star among Europe’s conservatives known for his hard-line on immigration.

This week, the junior party demanded Chancellor’s head because he has been placed under investigation on suspicion of corruption. The experts suggest that Kurz’s move is not a real resignation, just a formal step back into the second row. Kurz keeps his power in the OVP and therefore within the OVP government team still lies with Chancellor.

The head of the government plans to stay on as his party’s leader and become its top lawmaker in Parliament, and he is likely to continue to call the shots in the coalition.

“I would therefore like to make way in order to end the stalemate, to prevent chaos and to ensure stability,” Kurz said in a statement to the media on Saturday.

Commenting on his unexpected move, Kurz added that he was proposing Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, a career diplomat backed by Kurz’s party, take over as chancellor, whom the Greens soon made clear they accepted. Greens leader and Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler said in a statement he had had a “very constructive” working relationship with Schallenberg and would meet him on Sunday.

“We know from the (investigation) documents that he bought himself a party, that he bought himself an election, that he manipulated and lied to people, and he did it all with your tax money,” he added.