During his inaugural address in the Austrian National Council, Chancellor Schallenberg encounters angry opposition. The SPÖ calls on the ÖVP politician to separate from his predecessor’s apparatus of power. But Schallenberg stays with it: he remains loyal to Kurz for a while.
In the Austrian National Council, the government coalition and the opposition have fought a heated battle of words over the allegations to the resigned Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. The opposition Social Democrats demanded from Austria’s new Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg a clear cut with the conservative power apparatus of his predecessor.
Schallenberg should part with all of Kurz’s employees who are suspected of being corrupt, said SPÖ leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner in the House of Representatives. So far it seems that the “System Kurz” continues to rule. “Whoever follows blindly cannot lead,” said the Social Democrat to Schallenberg’s address. The chats of the ex-chancellor that became known showed a moral image of unscrupulousness and abuse of power.
The right-wing FPÖ also sharply criticized Schallenberg’s first appearances. The head of government announced the end of the new beginning in his first speech, said FPÖ parliamentary group leader Herbert Kickl. Schallenberg had “given a pledge of loyalty to the deep turquoise state,” said Kickl, referring to the party color of the conservative ÖVP.
Schallenberg is too short
However, Chancellor Schallenberg defended his predecessor again and was alienated by a motion of censure against Finance Minister Gernot Blümel, a brief confidante. In his inaugural speech in parliament, Schallenberg hadn’t said a word about the investigation against Kurz, nor had he announced any plans to fight corruption. He said he would proceed “in close coordination” with his ÖVP party colleague. Schallenberg emphasized that his predecessor was still party leader of the ÖVP and thus the strongest force in parliament. It is “natural” that he will continue to play an important role. Incidentally, Kurz will continue to pursue the agreed government program in terms of content
Prosecutors suspect Kurz and his close confidants of having bought positive media coverage and embellished surveys with taxpayers’ money. Because of the allegations, the coalition of the ÖVP with the Greens almost burst. Kurz denies the allegations. After his resignation, he remains party leader and has been unanimously chosen by the ÖVP parliamentary group as its new boss. He is to be sworn in as a member of parliament on Thursday. On Tuesday, Kurz did not have to expose himself to criticism from the opposition in parliament.
ÖVP is losing favor with the voters
Meanwhile, the voices of top ÖVP politicians who want to limit the influence of the ex-chancellor are increasing. In the “Tiroler Tageszeitung” Schallenberg, Tyrol’s head of state, Günther Platter, called on him to run the government “according to his own ideas” without exerting any influence. Previously, ÖVP officials from Styria and Vorarlberg had made similar statements.
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According to a survey, the ex-Chancellor and the ÖVP have clearly lost their favor due to the government crisis. In the Sunday question (“Assuming that next Sunday there would be elections to the National Council in Austria. Which party would you vote for?”), The ÖVP would only come to 26 percent under a top candidate, according to the survey carried out on behalf of the “Kronen Zeitung” . Most recently, the ÖVP was traded at significantly more than 30 percent. This means that the ÖVP and the social democratic SPÖ, which would grow slightly, are at a similar level for the first time in years.
According to the information, the right-wing FPÖ is benefiting from the developments and has up to 21 percent. According to the survey, Greens and Liberal Neos are largely unchanged at around eleven percent each. The new party MFG, which was critical of vaccinations in the Corona crisis, would come to parliament with seven percent. Early elections are rejected by 48 percent of Austrians, 42 percent would be for it, according to the survey.