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Austria’s Chancellor Kurz faces probe

Austria’s Chancellor Kurz faces probe

The Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz would be the first chancellor to have to face court while in office in the small Alpine EU member of some nine million people.

The prosecutors announced on Wednesday that they are investigating Mr Kurz for giving false testimony to a committee of lawmakers probing the Ibiza scandal and other graft allegations. If it’s true, the Chancellor will have to face a court, for the first time in Austria’s history.

Chancellor refused to step down, insisting he is not guilty and slamming what he says are efforts to unseat him. “I have said nothing that is not truthful,” Kurz told a selected group of Austrian media outlets on Thursday.

The investigation announced on Wednesday pertains to statements Kurz gave to a committee of lawmakers last year, in which he denied having had any influence over the appointment of the head of the OeBAG state holding company, Thomas Schmid.

If found guilty of lying under oath, the 34-year-old politician could face up to three years in jail, digital journal has learned.

Pressure on the Greens increased a lot

In February, the home of OeVP finance minister and Kurz ally Gernot Bluemel was raided as part of a probe into possible party financing offences.

“You can see a very heated atmosphere in Austria right now,” Hofer said, adding the current investigation “increases pressure on the Greens a lot”.

However, despite the investigations, Kurz overall remains fairly popular as a chancellor. On a national level, there is not really any outstanding competitor for him. Over the years, young and strong Kurz proved people could rely on his communication and crisis management skills. At least, for now.