Austria: Kurz-led government dissolved after vote of no-confidence

Vienna [Austria]: Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen on Tuesday officially dissolved the Sebastian Kurz-led government, a day after the latter lost a vote of no confidence.

This comes after a corruption scandal enveloped a leading party in Kurz’s now-dissolved coalition government. The Freedom Party’s (FPO) former leader and the former Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache was taped while allegedly offering government contracts to a Russian-speaking woman in Ibiza in exchange for favourable media coverage in the run-up to the elections in 2017.

While Strache has stepped down as FO’s leader, he has outrightly dismissed the allegations against him as a “political attack”.

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Meanwhile, Austria’s interim Vice Chancellor Hartwig Loger will be serving as Austria’s chancellor until the next leader to replace Kurz is chosen, according to Sputnik. Parliamentary elections are slated to be held in September in the wake of the corruption allegations.

Kurz has assured the President that his party is “ready for an orderly transfer of power and the transitional government,” pledging “unconditional” support to the interim government.

Last week, German news magazine Der Spiegel and the Suddeutsche Zeitung daily newspaper released a video shot in 2017 which showed the former Austrian Vice-Chancellor allegedly offering government contracts in exchange for media coverage to a woman claiming to be a Russian investor, along with being the niece of an oligarch.

The publications further reported that the woman offered to buy a 50 per cent stake in Austria’s Kronen Zeitung newspaper, ensuring support to Strache’s Freedom Party. The video has caused an uproar throughout the European country as elections were only a few months away when the conversation took place around two years ago.


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