VIENNA, Austria: Austrian People’s Party leader Sebastian Kurz has been formally removed as Austrian Chancellor following a non-confidence vote passed by the Social Democrats and the populist Freedom Party.
At just after 4 pm local time a vote of non-confidence in the government of Sebastian Kurz was carried in the Austrian parliament, which sees the downfall of both him as Austrian Chancellor and the rest of his ministers.
The vote was initially proposed by Social Democrat (SPÖ) leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner who addressed Kurz saying, “You have said a lot, but have not yet said that your government has failed. You alone are responsible for it.”
The motion of non-confidence comes in the wake of the so-called “Ibiza scandal” that saw former Freedom Party leader and former Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, along with former Vienna deputy mayor Johann Gudenus secretly recorded in a villa in 2017 allegedly trying to help the niece of a Russian oligarch purchase Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung in exchange for media influence and government contracts.
The woman who claimed to be the niece of Igor Makarov turned out to be a decoy and the footage was unseen until the week before the European Parliamentary elections.
Austrian Government Faces Vote of No Confidence After Ibiza Scandal Mass Resignations https://t.co/vSzrVg4C7h
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Mr Strache immediately resigned as Vice-Chancellor and as leader of the FPÖ, but following the revelations, Chancellor Kurz also demanded the resignation of Interior Minister Herbert Kickl. Ater Kickl refused, he was fired and along with him every single FPÖ minister also quit their positions in solidarity.
Early Friday morning the new FPÖ leader, former presidential candidate Norbert Hofer, told the press that he would be supporting Rendi-Wagner’s confidence motion, guaranteeing enough votes to bring down the Kurz government which will have to be replaced by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen by an interim caretaker government before new elections can be held in the Autumn.
Kurz’s reign as Austrian leader marks the shortest in Austria’s post-war history at only 525 days and comes after his party, the ÖVP, dominated the polls in Sunday’s European election grabbing 34.9 percent of the vote.
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