Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Kurz’s resignation is not enough
Opposition wants to see more heads roll
Austria has a new Chancellor, the coalition crisis is over. Sebastian Kurz’s departure is not enough for the opposition. The right-wing FPÖ wants to drive the entire government out of office, the SPÖ is planning a vote of no confidence in the finance minister.
The allegations of corruption against Austria’s conservative ÖVP have had parliamentary consequences despite the change in leadership. On Tuesday, 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.
Sebastian Kurz was replaced as Chancellor on Monday by the previous Foreign Minister, Alexander Schallenberg. The co-ruling Greens had ultimately called for a change at the top of the government after corruption investigators carried out raids on the Chancellery, the Ministry of Finance and the ÖVP party headquarters last week. According to the prosecutor, Kurz and his close confidante are suspected of buying positive media reports for tax money.
FPÖ speaks of “Fall of Man”
The Greens had already started talks with the opposition about a possible multi-party government without the ÖVP when Kurz threw in the towel on Saturday. The opposition displeases the fact that the Greens and the ÖVP have now declared their coalition crisis to be over – 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. “In my opinion, this is an unbelievable fall from grace.” He announced a vote of no confidence in the entire cabinet because, in his view, the Greens continue to support the ÖVP’s corrupt power system. The social democratic 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. Shortly after his retirement, he remains ÖVP boss and moves to parliament as leader of the parliamentary group. According to the party, the 35-year-old was unanimously elected to this office by the parliamentary group on Monday evening. However, he should not be sworn in as a member of parliament until Thursday.