Vote of no confidence prematurely ends Kurz chancellorship

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Austrian Chancellor Kurz and his government have been overthrown by a vote of no confidence. This is a consequence of the “Ibiza video” affair over his former coalition partner FPÖ.

It was the first successful vote of no confidence in Austrian history: the opposition overthrew Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his entire cabinet by means of a vote of confidence. The Social Democrats (SPÖ), the FPÖ and the “Jetzt-Liste-Pilz” voted against Kurz. As expected, the ÖVP and the liberal party NEOS opposed the votes of no confidence.

The SPÖ – the largest opposition party – had tabled the no confidence vote. “Mr. Chancellor, you and your ÖVP government do not enjoy the trust of the Social Democratic MPs,” said SPÖ President Pamela Rendi-Wagner. According to her, the Chancellor’s action was a “shameless, unbridled and irresponsible grab for power”.

Federal President decides

The no confidence vote against the government makes Sebastian Kurz the chancellor with the shortest term of office in Austria since the foundation of the Second Republic.

IT is now the job of Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen to put in place a temporary expert government. He can also commission the Cabinet to continue the government for a short time. The former EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Franz Fischler, is regarded as a possible candidate to succeed Kurz.

In the parliamentary debate before the vote, Kurz criticised the SPÖ for overthrowing the entire government. “But what I really do not understand is that after yesterday’s election result, the vote of no confidence against me is now being extended to the whole government. Anyone who wants to overthrow the entire government now does not have the good of the country in mind.”

Snap elections in September

The no confidence vote is the result of the government crisis, which began with the publication of the scandalous “Ibiza video”, in which the then head of the FPÖ, Heinz-Christian Strache, gave the impression that he was open to abuse of power and corruption. It was secretly filmed in the summer of 2017. Strache resigned from all offices on 18 May.

Shortly afterwards, the Chancellor had Interior Minister Herbert Kickl dismissed by the Federal President, the other FPÖ ministers resigned, and Van der Bellen swore in a transitional government with four experts under the leadership of Kurz. New elections are due to take place in September.

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