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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2021 11:47 am 
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Joined: Sun May 26, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 2266
Location: Vienna, Austria, EU
It's a bit more then 2 years since the last goverment crisis, time for a new one.

Our chancellor Sebastian Kurz has resigned in the face of corruption and perjury investigations by the public prosecution.

The main allegation is that he and his cabal have had deals with the owners of the newspaper (or more precicely trashy rag) "Österreich" and some pollster, where they promised goverment advertisments or polls for goverment use, on the condition of favourable reporting or polls.

So you only get the lucrative goverment contract if you are nice to us.

Investigations have been already going on for a while, ÖVP (Kurzs party) members had been talking about a political witchhunt, you know the deal. There was a house search against members of the cabal and the ÖVP in preparation and some unlucky ÖVP member had their first real exposure in the public telling the press, that they have heared rumors about it and that it would be pointless because everything is deleted already.

The house searches happened and someone had forgotten a backup, so there are now chat protocols available.

They show good indications of the afforementioned buying of reporting and polls, they make Kurzs statement under oath before a parlamentarian inquirery comitee questionable, and they show how Kurz, when he was not yet party leader and still "only" foreign minister, sabotaged the functioning of the goverment he was part of in preperation of a palace coup to become party leader.

For a while the ÖVP tried to hold him as chancellor but once it was clear that their coalition partner, the Greens would have taken part in an upcoming vote of no confidence, he resigned as chancellor "until the charges are cleared".

He stays party leader and went back to his seat in parliament* and took the position of faction leader. Being an MP also means that he has some immunity from prosecution**. It is not yet clear if he wants to have his immunity revoked to get the charges cleared or if he has some other plans.

Our new chancellor is Alexander Schallenberg, who until now has been foreign minister and who is a friend of Kurz, with little powerbase in the ÖVP. The coalition keeps going. So we don't have new elections (yet?), but some in the ÖVP are pretty mad at the Greens and there seems to be a sort of a cold civil war developing in the ÖVP, between Kurz loyalists and thoose, who would rather prefere him to quietly go away. So it does not seem like smooth sailing in the near future.

*In Austria the usual procedure for ministers, who also have seats in parliament, is to leave thoose seats to the next in line (we have after all a party list system)

** The public prosecution can ask for the immunity to be revoked and then it is a decision of the parliament to revoke it or not.

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