The Austrian Prime Minister Kurz is being investigated on suspicion of corruption, the Alpine republic is in a political crisis. A vote of no confidence will probably decide the future of the chancellor. However, his party could forestall him and sacrifice him in order to stay in power.
In Austria there are still no signs of a solution to the government crisis. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is sticking to his office despite the allegations of corruption and calls for resignation. He and his party are “able to act and, above all, willing to act,” said Kurz in a statement announced at short notice in the Chancellery. The Greens, however, see his withdrawal as a prerequisite for the continuation of the coalition. They want to continue talks with the other parties over the weekend about working together without the ÖVP. However, there is no official timetable for this yet.
Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen found clear words for the messy situation. He called on all political actors to think about the welfare of the country and not about their own interests now. “Austria cannot afford any selfishness now,” said the head of state in a short speech to the nation.
The Greens had made it clear that a continuation of their coalition with the conservative ÖVP was only possible with an “impeccable” new ÖVP Chancellor in view of the serious allegations of corruption against Kurz. It is becoming increasingly clear “that there is a shocking, a frightening, actually a horrible moral picture in the power center of the ÖVP,” said Green Party leader and Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler.
ÖVP could sacrifice Kurz
The public prosecutor’s office is investigating Kurz and some of his closest confidants on suspicion of corruption and infidelity. The team is said to have secured Kurz’s rise to the top of the party and state since 2016 through embellished surveys and bought media reports. For this, tax funds have flowed. The accused deny the allegations, which became known on Wednesday after a raid in the Federal Chancellery.
According to the opinion of the opposition SPÖ, Kurz should not rely on his party’s previous expressions of solidarity. A party like the conservative ÖVP, which has been in power for decades, is ready to sacrifice shortly before the vote of no confidence planned for Tuesday in parliament, said SPÖ leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner on the ORF news program “ZiB2”. “From my point of view that is the most likely scenario”.