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Austria’s government crisis: many scenarios – none of them easy

Status: 09.10.2021 1:28 PM

One thing is absolutely certain: In light of the corruption investigations against Chancellor Kurz, something will change in Austria’s government by Tuesday at the latest. A number of scenarios can be envisaged – but they are all very complex.

Legally, Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is currently presumed innocent, but the matter is more complicated politically. Will you stay in the office for a short time? Does this support the Green Alliance partner? Is it possible to forge entirely new alliances? Or will there be a temporary expert government again eventually – as it was in 2019? That will likely be clarified on Tuesday at the latest.

Despite the corruption investigations against him, Kurtz knows his party is behind him. Gunter Blatter said that the ÖVP’s regional chiefs in all nine Austrian federal states are “one hundred percent behind Sebastian Kurz”. He is a regional governor – that’s what the Prime Minister is called in Austria – and a heavyweight within the ÖVP. However, prominent ÖVP representatives described the corruption allegations against Kurz as “dangerous” and “incomprehensible”.

Greens want ‘flawless’ ÖVP chiefs

For Kurz, what is most problematic of his party is that it cannot govern without a coalition partner. Since January 2020, the greens have becomewho have remained too short for too long, although the current government crisis is not the first in the existence of the coalition. The Greens still want to stick to the alliance with the ÖVP – but not with the chancellor.

The Greens say the coalition’s continuation is only possible with a new “flawless” adviser to the OVP. Yesterday evening, Green Party leader and Vice-Chancellor Werner Kugler said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a horrific, horrific, and in fact appalling moral picture at the center of the ÖVP’s power.”

Huge allegations against Kurz

The attorney general’s office is investigating Curtis and some of his close associates 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 flowery polls and purchased media reports.

Tax money is also said to have flowed in for it – implying that the citizens of Austria “paid for their own manipulation”, as did “Walter” journalist Florian Klink. In a tagesschau.de . interview formulated.

The accused denies the allegations, which became known on Wednesday after a raid in the Federal Chancellery. Also run against short Lengthy investigations into the suspicion of perjury Before a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the so-called Ibiza scandal.

The special role of the FPÖ

The Greens want to use the weekend to explore other potential alliance opportunities. The problem: The conservative ÖVP is by far the most powerful force in parliament. An alliance against them will only be possible if the right-wing populist FPÖ participates.

This will be a difficult step for all the other parties represented in Parliament – the Green Party, the SPÖ and the liberal Neos. Because the head of the FPÖ, Herbert Kekel, sees a politician far to the right, he is considered a vaccine skeptic and describes the mask requirement as “chicane”. In addition, the FPÖ is still stuck in the “Ibiza scandal”, which in 2019 led to the break-up of the alliance between the ÖVP and the FPÖ and plunged Austria into a serious political crisis.

SPÖ: Quadruple alliance ‘unlikely but possible’

According to media information, it appears that at least the Social Democrats are willing to approach the FPÖ. Today, De Press reported that the self-imposed ban on cooperation at the federal level could be overturned. “The common cement is to clean up the Kurtz system and restore stability and cleanliness to the country,” the newspaper quoted SPÖ circles as saying.

SPÖ leader, Pamela Rende Wagner, said on ORF, “Extraordinary situations require extraordinary actions.” He described a four-party coalition made up of SPÖ, Greens, Neos and FPÖ as “unlikely, but possible”.

She said that in such a group – currently referred to as Austria’s “focus government” – it would be important for each minister to carefully monitor the boundaries of his departments. Rende Wagner said the head of the FPÖ, Kikl, would certainly not be health minister. She herself will be available as a consultant.

Parliament session on Tuesday

It is likely to be decided whether Kurz should vacate the chancellery by Tuesday at the latest. Because he should not resign voluntarily – Which Kors has categorically ruled out so far – SPÖ, FPÖ and Neos then want to present a motion of no-confidence in a special session of Parliament. In order to oust Kurz, in addition to the votes of the opposition, six votes from the co-ruling Green Party would also be necessary.

If the required majority is found, then Federal President Alexander van der Bellen Kurz will have to remove his position and assign someone else to continue the affairs of the government. This could be the green leader Kugler – or someone from the ranks of the ÖVP. However, Kurz’s resignation is expected to create a kind of domino effect within the ÖVP, with several senior politicians declaring their solidarity with Kurz.

A minority government is considered unlikely

The National Assembly – as Austria’s parliament is called – can vote on the entire government on Tuesday by a vote of no-confidence. Van der Bellen could then appoint a new chancellor and form a new government with him or her. However, due to the special role played by the Austrian Freedom Party, it is unclear what such a government would look like, which would in fact be able to act.

In theory, it would be conceivable that the FPÖ would temporarily tolerate a minority government made up of the SPÖ, Greens and Neos. But this is considered unlikely.

No party wants new elections

Another alternative would be – as happened in 2019 after the “Ibiza” collapse of the ÖVP / FPÖ alliance – to form a government of experts or officials. But it may only be able to run the country rather than it. After all, its members do not belong to any political party and therefore have little support in Parliament and therefore will find it difficult to carry out larger political projects.

An expert government can only be conceived as a transitional solution, but not as an option for the entire legislative period, which will last until the end of 2024. Only then will there be regular elections again. However, no party at the moment wants early elections. This will be the third parliamentary elections in four years.

Hannibal Mcgee
Hannibal Mcgee
"Food trailblazer. Coffee geek. Friendly alcohol enthusiast. Hardcore reader. Proud troublemaker. Pop culture advocate."
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