Austria: After the scandal, Chancellor announces early elections

Austria: After the scandal, Chancellor announces early elections

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The ruling coalition has exploded a few days of Europeans after the broadcast of a video implicating the vice-chancellor of the extreme right, Heinz-Christian Strache, in connection with Russia.
The governing coalition in power in Austria has imploded, swept away by the scandal affecting the far-right party FPÖ. Saturday, in Vienna, the young Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, leader of the conservative party, announced the upcoming convening of early parliamentary elections.

“I proposed to the President of the Republic that new elections be organized, and that as soon as possible,” said the 32-year-old prime minister in a ten-minute speech. A few hours earlier, his ally Heinz-Christian Strache, vice-chancellor and head of the FPÖ, resigned after being implicated in an attempt to collude in connection with Russia.

At this announcement, a few thousand Austrians gathered before the Chancery burst with joy. Hein-Christian Strache and Sebastian Kurz formed a coalition government in December 2017 for a five-year term. Six far-right ministers held strategic posts, including the Interior and Foreign Affairs ministries.

“Enough is enough”, said the Chancellor again about the scandal, saying that the attitude of his far-right partner “undermines the politics of change […] and the image (of the country)” . Sebastian Kurz notably considered that, in the light of press reports, there were “heavy” presumptions of “abuse of power” against his former number two.

Sunday, after an interview with the Chancellor, the Austrian head of state, Alexander Van der Bellen, proposed that these elections be held “in September, if possible in early September.”

On Friday, two German media outlets broadcast footage showing Heinz-Christian Strache willing to offer important public contracts to a Russian oligarch in exchange for investments in the country’s most powerful newspaper, Kronen Zeitung, which he was making of himself. rally to his cause.

The video was shot in a hidden camera, during a very wet meeting with the pseudo-niece of this oligarch, in a villa in Ibiza, before the legislative elections of 2017. A rendezvous organized apparently to trap the leader of the FPÖ .

The latter announced in the morning of Saturday his departure from the government but also the leadership of the party he had held the reins for fourteen years.

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