Heinz-Christian Strache

Alexander Van der Bellen, Sebastian Kurz, Heinz-Christian Strache, Austria NEWS

Austrian lawmakers voted conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s government out of office on Monday, passing a motion of no confidence days after it became a caretaker administration in the aftermath of a video sting scandal. Kurz’s People’s Party came out on top in Sunday’s European Parliament election, only a week after the sting prompted Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) to step down and Kurz to scrap the coalition between their parties. Kurz hoped to use his position as chancellor during the transition as a springboard for re-election, presenting himself as more of a victim of the political crisis set off by the video than an enabler of it who brought the far right to power. But with the next parliamentary election expected in September, opposition parties said Kurz must share the blame and voted his minority government – in which FPO ministers had been replaced by civil servants – down. “Kurz gambled away his chances and, Mr Chancellor, you bear full responsibility,” the Social Democrats’ (SPO) deputy parliamentary faction head Joerg Leichtfried said in a speech, minutes before his party submitted the motion. FPO lawmakers earlier unanimously agreed to support the SPO motion. Combined, the two parties have a majority of 103 seats in the 183-seat lower house. Austria’s president must now nominate a new chancellor to put together a caretaker government able to last until the election. While he could in principle choose Kurz again, that is highly unlikely. “To topple the government a fewContinue reading

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