The Austrian government is under threat after Green Party Chancellor Sebastian Kurz signaled his readiness to leave the coalition, amid allegations of corruption in state prosecutors who have identified him as a suspect.
“It simply came to our notice then. Against this background, the Chancellor’s ability to act is questionable, “said Warner Kogler, leader of the Greens and Austrian vice-chancellor. “The impression is devastating.”
Kogler said he would hold talks with three Austrian opposition parties today to discuss the situation. The Greens are scheduled to meet with Austrian President Alexander van der Belen, who has broad constitutional powers, including the ability to dismiss and appoint a chancellor.
Kurz, leader of the Austrian People’s Party, will also meet the president later on Thursday.
Crisis of the government after a police raid on Wednesday at the ministry and the head office of the People’s Party, run by anti-corruption authorities.
Kurz is among a handful of people at the search center.
The 104-page warrant of the Central State Prosecutor for Economic Crime and Corruption (WKSTA), a copy of which was seen by the Financial Times, named the chancellor as Austria’s foreign minister between 2016 and 2011 on suspicion of inciting bribery and lying.
Five other senior PPP officials and people close to him have also been named as suspects. No charges were brought against anyone.
Appearing for an extended interview on state broadcaster ORF on Wednesday evening, Kurz vehemently denied any wrongdoing alleged in the WKStA warrant.
He cited several previous WKStA investigations that termed senior senior PPP officials as suspects who were later disbanded. The WKSTA was responsible for ordering a raid on Kurz Mitra’s home in February at the home of Orz Minister Gernot Blomel. No charges have been filed against Blemmel since then.
Kurz and other members of the People’s Party have repeatedly stated that they believe WKStA is working on a political program.
Asked if he wanted to be chancellor, Kurz replied: “Yes. Of course. “
Kurz’s People’s Party has ruled Austria since January 2020 in alliance with the Greens. Out of the 13 seats in the lower house of parliament, the two parties run the seats together.
Political The 5-year-old now faces the biggest challenge of his political career.
Kurz is already a suspect in another judicial investigation. In May, the WKSTA announced that it was investigating false allegations against him about the testimony he gave to a special parliamentary inquiry committee into political corruption.
The new allegations centered on a conspiracy to embezzle াত 1.2 million in taxpayers’ money using fake invoices at pro-Kurdish media outlets.
Analysts say the results are still unclear. Although the People’s Party’s popularity declined during the Coronavirus epidemic, polls so far have shown that Kors is still Austria’s preferred choice for chancellor.
One possibility is that the Greens prefer to keep the alliance afloat on the condition that Kurz is removed as chancellor. It is uncertain whether the People’s Party will accept such a demand.
Kurz has no clear rivals from within the party for the replacement candidate, whose reformist agenda and style of politics have given the party the highest rating in the election since 2002.
People’s Party officials backed Kurz in a joint statement on Thursday. “It is very important for our country that we continue to have a stable government led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz,” said the party’s nine regional leaders.
Another option would be to call for a snap selection for Van der Belen – the second in many years. Alternatively a government could be formed between the Greens and the rest of the opposition.