Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he’s resigning amid a corruption probe that threatened to unravel his ruling coalition. Kurz, who’s replaced by his FM, denies the allegations, vowing to fight to clear his name.
The move averts a “no-confidence” vote after Austria’s Greens Party, which had campaigned on a promise of “clean politics” before joining the ÖVP-led ruling coalition last year, called on Kurz to step down.
Prosecutors said on Wednesday that they were targeting Kurz and nine others on suspicion of bribery and other corruption offenses. Kurz called for Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg to replace him as chancellor.
But opposition leaders had reportedly planned to introduce a no-confidence motion in Parliament next Tuesday. The Greens said on Friday that Kurz, who had already been under investigation for alleged perjury in a separate case, was no longer fit to lead as chancellor.
Kurz, 35, was Austria’s chancellor from December 2017 to May 2019 and swept to power again in January 2020, after his conservative party won nine additional National Council seats and came to terms with the Greens on a ruling coalition.
Kurz has been a vocal critic of European Union asylum-seeker policies and said in August that Austria wouldn’t accept any more Afghan refugees. On the other hand he backs the Israeli showdown on Gaza and the West bank.
Carl Bildt, co-chairman of the European Council of Foreign Relations, said that with Kurz’s decision to step down, the immediate crisis in Austria is over. If the Greens accepts the choice of Schallenberg as chancellor, the ruling coalition will likely hold together.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point Migration News 2021.