Sebastian Kurtz dismisses any guilt – the Greens question the ability to act
Sebastian Kurz has dismissed all allegations of corruption and said on Thursday, “I know the allegations are false.” His partner in the Green Alliance had previously questioned the chancellor’s ability to act. But the alliance wants to last for a while.
nAfter allegations of corruption, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has denied any wrongdoing. He confirmed Thursday afternoon that he felt unfairly treated. “I know what you did and I know the allegations are false,” Kurz said, surrounded by journalists and individual protesters on Vienna’s Ballhausplatz. He will defend himself against these allegations by all means.
After that, Kurz once again confirmed the legal presumption of innocence. The Green Party and the opposition increased pressure on the conservative prime minister in the morning. “We cannot move forward with the agenda, and the chancellor’s ability to act is questionable against this background,” Green Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler said in a statement.
Curtis replied: “We have been successfully elected twice, we stand by the government with the Greens.” If the Greens were to see it differently, one would have to accept it.
In light of the government crisis, Federal President Alexander van der Bellen asked the heads of all parties to meet in the Presidential Chancellery. On Wednesday, prosecutors searched the Federal Chancellery and the headquarters of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), among other things.
According to the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (WKStA), Kurz’s close associates are suspected of buying well-intentioned reports in the media company “Austria” in order to pave the way for Kurz to become party leaders and Federal Chancellor from 2016 onwards. . It is said that this money from the Ministry of Finance has been embezzled. Investigators see Kurtz as a participant in the crimes of blasphemy and corruption. The 35-year-old denied all the allegations.
“For a short while this office can no longer function”
Opposition parties announced a vote of no-confidence in parliament in the coming days if Kurz did not resign. “He can no longer do this job and this office without harming him, without harming Austria,” said SPÖ Social Democratic President, Pamela Rende Wagner. The leaders of the liberal Neus party and the right-wing FPÖ party expressed themselves similarly. However, the opposition parties did not call for new elections.
In order to vote Kurtz out of parliament, the opposition will need votes from the Greens, who govern with the ÖVP. Green Party leader Kogler did not mention this option in a statement, but announced talks with all parliamentary parties. “We have to work together to ensure stability and clarity, which is why I would like to advise on how to move forward across the parties,” he said. The deputy chair of the Green Party’s parliamentary group, Olga Voglauer, indirectly introduced Kurz’s withdrawal as a step toward the continuation of the government. “We have a coalition with the Austrian Union party, not with Sebastian Kurz,” she said.
Kurz made it clear in a TV interview Wednesday evening that he was not considering quitting. The heads of ÖVP organizations from all nine federal states supported him on Thursday. “We (…) assume that the criminally relevant allegations will be found to be false and can also be clarified,” they said. “In the current situation in particular, it is very important for our country that we continue to have a stable federal government headed by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.”
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