Tags: austria | kurz | straiche | freedom party | russians

Even After 'No Confidence' Vote, Austria's 'Young Chancellor' Stronger Than Ever

Even After 'No Confidence' Vote, Austria's 'Young Chancellor' Stronger Than Ever
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. (Michael Gruber/Getty)

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Monday, 27 May 2019 06:26 PM Current | Bio | Archive

One hour after the Austrian parliament voted “no confidence” in the 525 day-old government of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the 33-year-old politician sometimes known as the “young chancellor” is considered in great shape to win elections likely to be held in September.

The “no confidence” vote was based on the bizarre revelation last week of a two-year-old tape of Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Straiche and another leader of the nationalist Freedom Party talking with and discussing support from a woman masquerading as the niece of a Russian oligarch.

In the tape, Straiche suggests the Russians buy controlling shares in a major Austrian newspaper and support the Freedom Party in the coming national election. They also discuss major government contracts for the Russian oligarch when they are in power.

Revelation of the tape (which was created by still-unknown journalists) immediately forced Straiche’s resignation, along with those of the other member of his controversial party serving in the Kurz government.

“Enough is enough,” fumed the chancellor, who insisted on the resignations of all but one of the Freedom Party cabinet ministers in his ruling coalition.  He also replaced Straiche as vice chancellor with Finance Minister Hartwig Loger, a former insurance executive who earned high marks last month from fellow finance leaders for his participation in the International Monetary Fund/World Bank meeting in Washington, D.C.

In elections for the European Parliament, Kurz’s center right People’s Party won a handsome 34.9 percent, followed by the opposition Social Democrats at 23.4 percent and the Freedom Party at 17.2 percent—down from the 19 percent it scored in the last European parliament election, obviously due to the “Straiche Affair,” down but not out.

“This is a huge success for the People’s Party,” Raimund Loew, former Washington DC bureau chief for Austrian Television, told Newsmax, “Young Chancellor Kurz came out swinging after the recent collapse of his coalition government with the Freedom Party.”

Loew also pointed out to us that Kurz has now rid his party of an alliance with the controversial Freedom Party.

“So the People’s Party is a big tent now, and this might be an example for other conservative parties in Europe,” he told us. 

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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One hour after the Austrian parliament voted "no confidence" in the 525 day-old government of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the 33-year-old politician sometimes known as the "young chancellor" is considered in great shape to win elections likely to be held in September. The...
austria, kurz, straiche, freedom party, russians
378
2019-26-27
Monday, 27 May 2019 06:26 PM
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