Resignation for corruption: big scandal in Austria

big scandal in Austria

Sebastian Kurz, head of the Austrian government since 2017, announced his resignation as Federal Chancellor.

It turned out that in 2016 and 2018, Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz ordered the publication of positive opinion polls in the media for budget money. When information about this surfaced, Kurz did not escape the dismissal.

Austrian prosecutors said that in the course of the investigation against Kurz and nine other defendants, “home searches in several locations, including the separate offices of two federal ministries,” were carried out, with the support of economic and information experts from the judiciary.

The suspicion is that between 2016 and 2018, the Ministry of Finance used budgetary funds “to fund exclusively politically motivated, sometimes manipulative surveys of an opinion research company in the interests of a political party and its top officials.”

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These survey results were published in the editorial section of the daily newspaper and were not labeled with advertisements.

There is also a suspicion that the relevant officials made payments to the media company in the framework of media and advertising cooperation, and these payments, in fact, influenced the editorial activities.

A corruption investigation against the office of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz triggered a crisis in his ruling coalition with the Greens. The Green leadership announced that it did not want to continue the alliance with Chancellor Kurz and in return demanded from his Austrian People’s Party to propose another “impeccable candidate” for the post of prime minister.

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As a result, Kurz was forced to resign. At the same time, he denied all accusations in his direction, but said that he decided to resign anyway. Should the Chancellor not agree to resign voluntarily, the Greens planned to file a vote of no confidence at a special session of parliament on Tuesday.

In the end, the parties reached a compromise. Kurz resigns from office, the coalition remains and nominates for the post of new chancellor the candidacy of non-partisan politician Alexander Schallenberg, who now headed the Austrian Foreign Ministry. Kurz himself remains the head of the party. Analysts suggest that Kurz will remain the shadow leader of the Cabinet.

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