The Styrian Hermann Schützenhöfer, currently chairman of the governor’s conference, criticizes the way the ÖVP party leadership deals with the judiciary. He calls the published chats “horrible”.
Perhaps it would be too much to say that Hermann Schützenhöfer’s words were reprimand. But the Styrian governor always issued a warning to the ÖVP leaders to moderate their tone in the ORF “press hour” on Sunday.
Schützenhöfer is particularly critical of the attacks against the judiciary: he understands that the Chancellor feels that he has been treated unfairly – but not the reaction: “I personally would not attack the judiciary.” Alfons Gorbach, ÖVP Federal Chancellor in the 1960s , I said that it was better to express your opinion in your own four walls and not in the main square.
“The judiciary is a major pillar of the rule of law,” said the current chairman of the governors’ conference. He also does not agree with every judgment of the Constitutional Court, “but what they judge, that applies”. He also understands that the public prosecutor’s office is investigating Sebastian Kurz: “They have to investigate” if there are reports against the Federal Chancellor.
But he also noticed the anger among the population: about the fact that the opposition is now united against Kurz. And Schützenhöfer did not fail to mention that the Greens were also involved in “campaigning”. The tenor in the population is clear: You don’t let the Chancellor “be shot out”.
What would the ÖVP do if the public prosecutor actually brought charges against Sebastian Kurz for making false statements in the Ibiza-U-Committee? That will then have to be discussed, said Schützenhöfer. But he does not expect it, especially not from a conviction. “I am convinced that he will not be convicted.”
Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler had on Saturday the end of turquoise green in prospect, should Sebastian Kurz be convicted. This would “reach other regions of the impairment of the capacity to act,” said Kogler on ORF radio. “I would think that it will not work out. So a convicted Federal Chancellor is actually inconceivable. “
“The ÖVP goes through a valley”
Hermann Schützenhöfer did not deny on Sunday that the People’s Party is currently “going through a certain valley”. But there is no alternative to Sebastian Kurz, not only in his own ranks: In the surveys, the ÖVP is still way ahead, and that also coincides with his gut feeling.
According to his own statements, the governor is even proud of the Federal Chancellor – “not really about some of his friends”. This meant, among other things, the outgoing Öbag boss Thomas Schmid, who had complained about the “rabble” he had to mingle with on air travel if he no longer had a diplomatic passport after leaving the Ministry of Finance.
Schützenhöfer was “even more appalled” by “what was to be read about the church”. The chats that have become known, regardless of whether they are between top representatives of the ÖVP or top lawyers close to the ÖVP, are “in all cases gruesome”. But that they were published is “just as gruesome”. Because: “It doesn’t exist anywhere, not even in Germany.”
The suspended justice section head Christian Pilnacek, who had apologized on Saturday for his remarks in exchange with the now resigned constitutional judge Wolfgang Brandstetter (see adjacent article), Schützenhöfer at least admitted that he had done a good job for the judiciary. And the fact that Pilnacek had sent an SMS to the governor to ensure that his wife, Caroline List, get a high judge’s office, the governor did not want to condemn either: “How many people do you think intervene with me?” He had in the case not answered. In addition, Caroline List, President of the Graz Regional Criminal Court, should not be made bad – she would “certainly also be suitable for a ministerial office”.
Hofburg: Griss? Rabl-Stadler?
And what’s next for the federal government? He hopes that turquoise-green will hold out “almost” the entire legislative period this time. People did not want elections to take place every two years. Both sides would have to “give each other space” for this.
The ÖVP advised Schützenhöfer not to nominate a Hofburg candidate should Alexander Van der Bellen run again in 2022. That would “show greatness”. Should Van der Bellen decide otherwise, however, he would advocate a candidate who does not only appeal to the traditional electorate: the former Supreme Court President and Neos MP Irmgard Griss, for example. Or the President of the Salzburg Festival, Helga Rabl-Stadler.
(price / APA)