Austria: President Kurz beaten by corruption scandal

Austria – Austrian Conservative President Sebastian Kurz, suspected of corruption, announced his resignation on Saturday evening, October 9, amid further political upheavals in the Central European country.

The man, who became the youngest elected leader on the planet at the end of 2017, was swept away by corruption for the second time, and he was able to cope brilliantly after the previous 2019 political storm.

“It is irresponsible to go into chaos or recession for many months,” he told reporters in Vienna, explaining that he was denying “false allegations” and withdrawing for the country’s “stability”. “I want to give way to avoid confusion,” he said, proposing the name of his foreign minister, Alexander Shalenberg, after him.

A “Phantom President”

Sebastian Kurz has been under pressure to step down since the trial was announced Wednesday to begin an investigation into him for corruption. The 35-year-old leader has so far denied denouncing the “fabricated” allegations.

But he finally wanted to accept the leadership when he was threatened with a new charge by parliament. Elected officials were due to vote on a resolution of protest filed by the opposition on Tuesday.

The Greens, the government’s minority partners, also increased their criticism over the days. On Friday, Werner Kokler, deputy leader and leader of environmental activists, ruled after talks with leaders of other parties that Sebastien Kurz could “no longer carry out his activities.” Conservatives (ÖVP) should now come up with “innocence,” he said.

Shortly after the president’s speech, Werner Kokler hailed the “appropriate decision” and hopes to “continue government work” with Alexander Shallenberg, now 52-year-old French-speaking business diplomat, who meets Sunday.

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Opposition parties, on the other hand, were less enthusiastic about the continuation of the “Kurz system”. “For a moment we can summarize, Sebastian Kurz is no longer president, but president of the Phantom,” said Pamela Rendi-Wagner, leader of the Social Democratic opposition.

“I’m just human”

Sebastian Kurz is believed to have used government funds to gain favorable media coverage in the past. According to the lawyer, between 2016 and 2018, reputable articles and opinion polls that have been “partially manipulated” will be published instead of the advertising space being purchased by the conservative-managed finance ministry.

Sebastian Kurs and nine other suspects and three organizations are under investigation for various offenses related to this case. On Wednesday, searches took place, especially at the ÖVP headquarters and the Chancellery.

The lawyers’ case series is based on telephone messages. “I can shed some light, I’m sure,” Kurz said, adding that “at some point” some of the texts were written.

“I am a man with emotions and mistakes,” he stressed. He is the leader of the Conservative Party and will sit in Parliament.

The second scandal for Kurs

Sebastian Kurz, the foreign minister who first entered the government as secretary of state ten years ago, first took office in December 2017.

Associated with the far-right FPÖ party, he saw his government sidelined in May 2019 by a so-called Ibizagate scandal.

He then returned to power in January 2020, this time along with the Greens, an alliance that has already been challenged several times due to different views on other cases and the refugee issue.

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