Friday October 8, 2021
The road to the chancellery
Chat provides insight into Kurtz’s machinations
From Kathryn Hetzel
Austrian investigators are assessing the conversations between Chancellor Kurz and the third parties page by page. They came to the conclusion: the polls were rigged with taxpayer money to help the young politician Sebastian Kurz first to the top of the ÖVP and then to the Chancellery.
It reads like an episode of “House of Cards” – but it’s not about a fictional American politician, but about Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Manipulation, bribery and infidelity – all of these are said to have been guilty of high-ranking civil servants in Von Kurz’s party. The goal was to bring Kurz and his ÖVP to the head of the Austrian government. Long chats between party members and a small Austrian magazine as well as several “spurious bills” point to this, according to investigators from the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (WKStA). Documents are available for ntv. Meanwhile, the alliance with the Greens is on edge. Together with the opposition, the coalition partner is now looking for options.
Three groups of people involved in an affair
Did Sebastian Kurz really become Chancellor of Austria through bribery? WKStA investigators are gathering evidence for this suspicion. From 2016 onwards, Kurtz and his team were supposed to pursue this ambitious goal. During a raid, investigators secured several laptops, cell phones, and documents. In doing so, they will find the conversations that are supposed to document the actions of Kurtz’s team well and now serve as evidence.
The WKStA report notes that three groups of people are involved in the case:
- Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and those close to his team It is said that they did everything to paint a positive image of ÖVP and Kurz in the media and thus outperformed then ÖVP President Reinhold Mitterliner in the race for the Chancellery.
- opinion poll expertwho was said to have falsified in ÖVP surveys about tax costs.
- Tabloid magazine “Austria”, which is said to have printed articles specifically on behalf of Kurtz’s team in the form of benevolent reports.
According to the investigators’ report, Kurtz’s team followed a strict plan. At that time, his popularity ratings were not as high as they were recently. The public and the party still had to convince that he could become a party leader and advisor. According to the investigations, a pollster created flowery polls for the ÖVP, which she presented to the public as an “independent expert”. However, the results of the surveys were controlled by the ÖVP itself – according to the investigators’ claims.
According to WKStA, the respondents manipulated or subsequently identified the results in several cases. This is how Kurtz’s team dictated the results of a new survey about parties’ performance in a conversational message:Green strong, Socis medium, bissl neos, VP next to nothing.”
Another message (after publishing an apparently embellished poll) to Kurtz confirms that the ÖVP is said to be “calculating the results well”: “When it comes to social issues, we come to SPÖ. Care must be taken when making the calculations, otherwise it will not be possible. ”
Austrian newspaper said:
As a partner, Ostrich is said to have contributed to the manipulation: Kurz’s team was able to control public opinion through them. In some cases, the reporting type has been specifically planned in advance in chats.
The chat indicates that the newspaper has almost always acted in accordance with the wishes of Kurtz’s team. However, when the newspaper apparently does not publish “agreed content regarding the results of the various surveys,” it becomes clear that an “agreement” discussed earlier must be violated:
“This is really a cheek and not a confidence building. We are really pissed!!!! Kurz writes for the newspaper team. This one gives up and tries to calm down with a great positive article: “I totally understand – I’ll get back to you in 30 minutes – I’m going to do a full double page on the survey on Wednesday. Yes?”
Did Kurtz know all this?
Investigators consider Kurz to be the “central person”, because all the actions were committed “as requested” in his favor. He was informed of all the steps his team was taking. For example, Kurz received the following messages about the publication of individual survey results:
Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance: “Survey on Sunday everything should be appropriate.”
Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance: “New values! Call me Mr. Poll :-))”
Or after a disastrous poll on Kurz’s rival, published in the tabloid magazine “Austria”.
short: “Thank you for Austria today”
Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance: “Always at your service.”
According to investigators, the propaganda project was financed with funds from the Ministry of Finance.