A political tremor is looming in Austria: In order to form a new government without the ÖVP of the ailing Chancellor Kurz, the Social Democrats would be ready for a four-party alliance – including the right-wing FPÖ. The chairman of the SPÖ reaches for the Chancellery.
The conservative ÖVP of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz used a possible government participation of right-wing populists in Austria for an attack. “The whole of Austria is witnessing how the Greens and the SPÖ throw decades of attitudes and convictions of their parties overboard,” said Agriculture Minister and brief confidante Elisabeth Köstinger. Days of chaos threatened the country.
The reason for the outrage are statements by SPÖ leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner, who had named a four-party alliance including the right-wing FPÖ as a possible way out of the government crisis. Since the corruption allegations against Kurz, the coalition of Greens and ÖVP is on the verge of failure. Explorations are currently underway to generally bring about a government without Kurz or without the ÖVP.
The FPÖ with its 30 mandates is needed for a successful vote of no confidence against Kurz. On top of that, the Greens, SPÖ and the liberal Neos want to prevent new elections. The FPÖ is also necessary for this. In Austria, a majority in parliament can resolve new elections. ÖVP and FPÖ together would have enough votes for it.
“I am available as Chancellor”
In any case, the SPÖ is now ready to approach the right-wing FPÖ. So far, the Social Democrats have been subject to a self-imposed ban on cooperation at the federal level. SPÖ circles described the change in mood to the newspaper “Die Presse”: “The common glue is to clean up the Kurz system and bring stability and cleanliness back into the country.” Rendi-Wagner explained on ORF, “Extraordinary situations require extraordinary actions.”
A four-party alliance made up of the SPÖ, Greens, liberal Neos and the FPÖ described it as “unlikely, but possible”. In such a constellation, it would be important that every minister carefully observes his departmental boundaries, she said on the news program “ZiB2”. FPÖ boss Herbert Kickl, who is one of the vaccine opponents in the Corona crisis, would certainly not be health minister, said Rendi-Wagner. She herself is available as Chancellor.
Decision of the budget on the brink
In Austria, corruption investigations against Chancellor Kurz and his closest circle triggered a government crisis. As a coalition partner, the Greens now consider the head of government to be no longer fit for office. On Tuesday, Kurz, who denies the allegations, has to face a motion of no confidence in a special session of the National Council. It is now almost certain that he will be voted out of office.
In the meantime, the Greens have failed in their attempt to officially resolve the already negotiated budget together with the ÖVP immediately before the planned vote of no confidence in Kurz. A spokesman for the ÖVP-led finance ministry told the Austrian news agency APA that the resolution of the Council of Ministers and the vote in the National Council had long been set for November 18. “Whether this roadmap holds up depends on the Greens and whether they take on state political responsibility in the special session on Tuesday.”