The latest developments

Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has resigned due to allegations of corruption. The previous Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg has been sworn in as the new head of government.

Alexander Schallenberg was sworn in as the new Chancellor on Monday afternoon.

Christian Bruna / EPA

The latest developments

  • The allegations of corruption against the ÖVP have had parliamentary consequences despite the change in leadership. On Tuesday (October 12th) the opposition wants to denounce abuses in the ÖVP in a special session of parliament and introduce motions of no confidence in the government. However, they do not have a majority for this. The fact that the Greens and the ÖVP have now declared their coalition crisis over is displeasing to the opposition – also because Schallenberg described the allegations against Kurz as “wrong” on Monday. In his first appearance as Chancellor, Schallenberg questioned the Ministry of Justice’s investigations, said the head of the right-wing FPÖ, Herbert Kickl. He announced a vote of no confidence in the entire cabinet because, in his opinion, the Greens continue to support the corrupt power system of the ÖVP. The SPÖ is planning a motion of no confidence only against Finance Minister Gernot Blümel – because of his proximity to Kurz. In addition, the FPÖ and the liberal Neos want to initiate a more transparent regulation in parliament for the distribution of media advertisements by the government in order to put a stop to courtesy journalism. The opposition is also working to set up a committee of inquiry.
  • Ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is the new parliamentary group leader of the conservative ÖVP in the National Council. The 35-year-old was elected unanimously in a secret ballot, the ÖVP announced on Monday evening (October 11th). The previous sole parliamentary group leader, August Wöginger, was also unanimously elected as his first deputy. “We will work together with all our strength for the people in Austria,” said Kurz and Wöginger. Kurz will be sworn in as a member of parliament on Thursday. He will therefore not attend the special session on Tuesday or the regular session on Wednesday as a Member of Parliament.
  • Alexander Schallenberg is the new Federal Chancellor of Austria. The previous foreign minister was sworn in as head of government by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen on Monday afternoon (October 11th). In a first statement after he was sworn in, Schallenberg stated that he would “of course work very closely with Sebastian Kurz. Anything else would be absurd in terms of democratic politics. ” He considers “the allegations in the room” against his party colleague to be wrong and is convinced “that in the end it will come out that there was nothing wrong with them”, continued Schallenberg. The ÖVP politician described the fact that he was chosen to fill the Chancellery as an honor that he never expected and never wished for. However, it would have been «not an option not to accept this responsibility».
  • Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen has called on the ÖVP and the Greens to work in a concentrated and objective manner. It is important to restore mutual trust, said Van der Bellen on Sunday evening (10/10) in Vienna. The future Federal Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg and Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler had assured him that there was a solid foundation for further cooperation. “Both are in the word,” warned the head of state. “I am now expecting a phase of focused work.”
  • The diplomat Michael Linhart becomes Austria’s new foreign minister. The 63-year-old will be sworn in on Monday (October 11th), according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Linhart succeeds Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) as chief diplomat, who will be sworn in as Federal Chancellor on Monday. Linhart previously served as ambassador to Paris. Before that, he was the top official in the Foreign Ministry as Secretary General. He gained political experience as an advisor to the then Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel.
  • According to Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens), the coalition of the ÖVP and the Greens should open a “new joint chapter after the resignation of Sebastian Kurz». The most recent meeting with the new Prime Minister Alexander Schallenberg made him very confident, said Kogler on Sunday evening (10 October) in Vienna. The alliance has already worked successfully with the ÖVP: “As a government, we have achieved a lot together over the past few months.” The Green chief expressly thanked Kurz for his resignation. The Greens had made his departure a prerequisite for the coalition to continue.
  • Austria’s opposition criticizes Kurz for moving to parliament. It is a move instead of an actual system change. “Sebastian Kurz is fleeing to parliamentary immunity,” said the head of the right-wing FPÖ, Herbert Kickl.

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