Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz resigns amid criminal investigation



On Saturday, Sebastian Kurz made an announcement that he was stepping down from the post of Chancellor of Austria. He announced his resignation soon after he was under investigation. Prosecutors had opened a probe into allegations that federal funds had been used by Kurz as pay off to pollsters as well as to journalists, in order to receive positive coverage.

The conservative People’s Party was urged to replace him by its partners in the government. They said that they would leave the current coalition if Kurz did not step down from his post.

At a news conference in Vienna, Kurz spoke to reporters and said that he was admitting that it was not easy for him to step down but he was doing so as his “country” was more important than his “person.” He added that the country needed “stability.”

Kurz also told reporters that he would suggest that Alexander Schallenberg who is Austria’s foreign minister, should replace him as Chancellor.

Earlier on Wednesday, several locations that were associated with Kurz’s right-wing People’s Party (OeVP) were raided by prosecutors. The investigators said that the 35-year old as well as nine other persons were under investigation. The alleged claims against them indicated that they had used government money in a corrupt way; to get positive coverage from media.

Kurz said that he had not made any wrong decisions and that the allegations leveled against him were “false.” He also said that he would be able to “clarify it” and that he was “sure about it.” He also added that he was “human with emotions and mistakes.”

Greens leader and Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler called the accusations against Kurz “serious” and “dire.” He said that these allegations had cast doubts on the Chancellor’s ability to carry out the functions of his office, effectively.

On Friday, Kogler said that he had asked the OeVP to appoint another Chancellor. He said that Kurz was “no longer fit for office.”

On Tuesday, the opposition is planning to file a no-confidence motion against the current government. The results will depend on the vote of the Greens who haven’t as yet indicated on how they would vote, early next week.


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