Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has announced his resignation as head of government amid the crisis caused by corruption allegations , although he will maintain his political aspirations, according to Europa Press. The Greens, coalition partners of Kurz, had demanded his resignation to remain in government.
“Our coalition partner has decided to take a clear stance against me,” Kurz told a televised press conference. For this reason, he considers that they are in a situation of “impasse” despite the fact that “the pandemic has not ended yet, the economic recovery has only just begun and a drift towards chaos for months would be irresponsible.”
“At this critical moment, in my opinion, it would be irresponsible to fall into months of chaos or stagnation and it would be exactly the same, in my humble opinion, also irresponsible, to hand over the government to a coalition of four parties, an experiment that in the end will depend equally from the grace of Herbert Kickl, “he argued in reference to the leader of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPO).
That is why he has announced his resignation “putting the country’s interests before mine” and calling for “stability and responsibility.” His position will be occupied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Schallenberg, Kurz has announced in his brief appearance, in which no questions have been admitted.
As for the accusations, he has argued that they date from 2016. ” They are false and I am going to clarify that as well . I am deeply convinced of it,” he assured. Kurz has indicated that he will remain the leader of the Austrian People’s Party (OVP).
After the press conference, the Minister of Agriculture, Elisabeth Koestinger, considered very close to Kurz, stressed that he is taking “a step aside” and that he will remain on the sidelines of the government “until the accusations are clarified.” It later emerged that Kurz and August Woeginger will jointly act as spokespersons for the OVP parliamentary group .
Kurz and nine other people are accused of diverting public funds to the press company to further their political aspirations . In the last week the Prosecutor’s Office has registered several official headquarters.
As a result of the scandal, Los Verdes, a minority partner of the Kurz government, have requested his resignation and a motion of no confidence was scheduled for next Tuesday that now depends on the decision of Los Verdes, who could choose to give continuity to the Government with the Kurz’s OVP without him at the helm.
“Sebastian Kurz has informed me of his resignation as Chancellor and, in view of the current situation, I consider that it is the correct decision for the future of the government, because of responsibility towards Austria and because of Austria’s reputation abroad,” said the vice chancellor and leader of the Greens, Werner Kogler, in a statement.
Kogler’s text announces a meeting with Schallenberg for Monday and stressed that the collaboration with the current foreign minister “has been very constructive so far.” Schallenberg himself has not spoken in any way foreseeably pending the meeting on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPO) is preparing a four-way coalition that would include the controversial far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPO).
The Social Democratic leader, Pamela Rendi-Wagner, defended before learning of Kurz’s resignation the possibility of renouncing her commitment not to collaborate with the FPO because “extraordinary situations require extraordinary measures,” according to statements to the public channel ORF. In addition to the FPO, the coalition would include Los Verdes and the liberal NEOS party.
From the FPO they have criticized the gesture since they consider that it is “a flight towards parliamentary immunity” in the words of the leader of the far-right formation, Herbert Kickl.